Sand, sea and suncream isn’t always a good combination when it comes to babies, but don’t let that put you off. We’ve put together a really quick guide on how to make taking your baby to the beach as stress free as possible- do let us know in the comments if you have any amazing tips to share too!
Top Beach hacks for parents
There are very few ‘parent hacks’ out there that actually work, but we managed to find some absolute gems that are guaranteed to make beach trips with baby a lot easier.
Make a sand-free zone
One of the worst things about visiting the beach with a baby has to be the fact that sand just gets everywhere. And we mean EVERYWHERE. That’s why making a sand-free zone is such a great idea. All you need is a fitted sheet, something to weigh down the corners (cool bag, water bottles etc) and an empty tub/ washing up bowl.
Spread the sheet across the sand, and use the weights to keep it in place. It will take on a kind of paddling pool shape that you can sit inside with your baby- and that’s your sand-free zone. And if you’re wondering what the empty tub/ washing up bowl is for… fill it with water and get everyone to dip their feet to keep the sand away. So clever!
Essential beach equipment
When you’re a parent you rarely visit anywhere empty handed, and when you visit the beach you really do need a lot of stuff! Here’s a list of the items we think you definitely need to pack:
- Sun tent/ umbrella/ shade
- Toys- keep them in a mesh bag to shake the sand away when you leave
- Cool bag with food and drinks (pre-freeze snacks and bottles of water so they’re extra cool)
- First aid kit
- Arm bands/ rubber ring/ float suit
- Nappies/ changes of clothes
- Cornflour to wipe sand off baby- this one is genius, because the cornflour will remove the sand easily and painlessly
- Chilled/ frozen washcloths to cool baby down- freeze overnight before you go and use them to hold against hot foreheads, or as a cool and soothing relief for teething babies
Bring the sea to you
If you’re concerned about taking your baby into the sea, or the tide is going out, a small baby paddling pool is a great item to bring to the beach- fill it with a safe level of water and let your baby sit and splash to their heart’s content.
Beach safety tips for parents
Staying safe at the beach is so important, so here’s a really quick guide to making sure you all make it home again in one piece.
Follow beach safely rules. When you’re planing your trip, look for beaches that have life guards on duty and brush up on what the safety flags mean so you know what advice is being given to bathers.
Red and yellow flags indicate that you’re in a lifeguarded area and it’s safe to swim. Black and white chequered flags mean that surfboards and kayaks etc are using that part of the water, and swimmers are not allowed in. Red flags indicate danger and you must not go into the water.
Experts recommend that we should all be wearing sun cream in the UK from March until October, whether it’s sunny or not- but creams are not suitable for babies under the age of 6 months.
Your baby’s skin is much more sensitive than yours, so you need to take extra precautions to keep them out of the sun. Dress your baby in light layers and find shade wherever you can. Don’t forget a sun hat too!
For older babies and children, re-apply sun cream regularly and especial after swimming. Read more advice on sun safety from the NHS here.
Final word on taking baby to the beach
If you’re prepared, you can definitely make your day at the beach a success- don’t forget your camera to record all the happy memories too! But before you go, here are a few last tips we’d like to share with you…
Do a quick beach clean
Please support the vital work of The 2 Minute Foundation by getting involved in a really quick 2 minute beach clean. If you spot a beach board, grab a litter picker and a bag and if not, bring a spare bag with you. Just two minutes can make a huge difference. And don’t forget to bag up your own rubbish too!
Choose the right time for your beach trip
When you plan your trip, aim to either go early or late- to avoid crowds and the hottest part of the day. Lots of parents plan around nap time too.
Keep an eye on the tide
Its good advice to check the tides times before you set out- for example if you prefer a huge stretch of sand over the lapping waves, or if you like having the sea close to where you’re sitting. Keep an eye on when its likely to come in too, so you don’t lose your picnic!