There’s nothing more relaxing than a day at the beach – until you have a toddler in tow. Though you may not be able to soak up the sun and catch up on your reading, hitting the sand with Baby is still lots of fun, it’s just a different kind of fun. Whether you’re heading out for day trip or planning a family vacation, here are some tips to make sure he has a blast at the beach while staying safe at the same time.
- Make for the shade: The sun’s rays are strongest during from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which is also prime beach time. Since Baby’s skin is still ultra-sensitive, it’s important to shield him from the sun as much as possible. Invest in a good, sturdy beach hat for when you go strolling, and set up a canopy, tent, or umbrella to sit under while you snack and play.
- Use sunblock: Making sure your toddler is wearing enough sunblock is even more important than usual when you’re at the beach. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a sunblock with an SPF of at least 15, which blocks out 93 percent of UVB rays. Sunblock with higher levels of SPF do add additional protection, but only to a certain degree. It’s always important to be sure to apply sunblock according to the label’s instructions for optimal protection. You may also want to invest in SPF swimwear for added protection.
- Keep an eye out: You know not to let Baby play near the water by himself, but being nearby while Baby plays is just the beginning. All toddlers should have on protective swim gear when near the water, like floaties and life jackets, but your close supervision is still the best protection, so Baby will be safest if he plays right there with you. When walking through the sand, keep an eye out for sharp objects, like broken shells and glass.
- Stay hydrated: Being out in the sun can easily lead to dehydration, which is especially dangerous for little ones. Bring lots of water and other fluids, and encourage water breaks often – even if it means disrupting playtime. Look out for signs of dehydration, which include, dry lips and skin, drowsiness, and decreased urine output.
Heading to the beach with a toddler takes a bit of extra prep, but as long as you arrive prepared, rest assured, your outing will go swimmingly!
- Lawrence E. Gibson. “When is it OK for a baby to wear sunscreen?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, June 8 2016. Retrieved December 7 2017. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/baby-sunscreen/faq-20058159.
- “Sun and water safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.” The American Academy of Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics, May 2 2017. Retrieved December 7 2017. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Sun-and-Water-Safety-Tips.aspx.