Aussies have long held a special place in their hearts for the beach. It’s a place where we can create memories with our children, just like our parents did with us.
Swimming, exploring and playing in the sand are all part of the fun, but it can be difficult to keep track of all the items that you need to make sure your day out is enjoyable and safe.
When taking a baby to the beach, it’s important to plan ahead and pack all the necessary items. That’s why we’ve put together this checklist for you.
1. Sun protection
Sunscreen and a rash guard (also known as a rashie or rash vest) are crucial in protecting your baby’s delicate skin from the sun’s rays.
Sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before heading out. For the best protection, opt for a sunscreen with a SPF 30, broad spectrum and water repellent. Reapply after swimming.
A rash guard is also a good idea to add an extra layer of protection, allowing you to use less sunscreen.
Hat and sunglasses are also important to protect both you and your little one from the sun. Make sure to buy a hat with a wide brim that covers the ears and neck, and for added security, a chin strap. Sunglasses are great, and if you want to prevent them from being pulled off, try a strap.
2. Umbrella or beach tent
It’s usually near impossible to find shade at a beach, so take your own along. With an umbrella you won’t have to worry about anyone getting sunburnt, and you’ll want to stay longer because you’ll be cool and comfortable; and with a beach tent you’ll have a little extra privacy too.
3. Bags and changes of clothing
Bring along lightweight, comfortable spare clothing for bub, such as shorts, t-shirts, and extra swimwear. Pop it all into a large waterproof beach bag and add in a couple of plastic bags for taking home wet gear and sandy toys, and one for rubbish.
4. Nappy change essentials
Bring a wipeable change mat with enough nappies and wipes to last the entire day, including swimming nappies (plus a couple more to be safe). You might want to throw in a small tub of barrier cream in case the sea water or sand is irritating to bub’s skin.
Make sure you’ve got enough suitable wipes for wiping sandy, sticky hands, and some sanitiser for yourself.
5. Towels and chairs
Bring a couple of towels to help keep your baby dry and warm. You might also like to bring a large picnic blanket for you both to stretch out on and play. If you’re more comfortable in a beach chair, bring one along for yourself.
If your baby likes to nap on you, a sarong is great for draping over both of you to keep you protected from the sun and insects.
6. Beach toys
A few beach toys, such as buckets, spades, toy cars, and a ball will help keep your baby entertained so you can relax.
7. Snacks and water
For little ones who are on solids, bring food and drinks to keep them nourished throughout the day. Pack a cooler bag with pre-cut and ready-to-eat snacks like watermelon, strawberries, grapes, mango, natural yoghurt, fruit pouches, wraps/sandwiches, rice crackers, and soft vegetables like cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumber.
It’s also important to stay hydrated, so bring a refillable cup or water bottle for everyone, and pre-freeze some water bottles to keep the food cool.
8. First aid kit
It’s always a good idea to bring a basic baby first aid kit in case of any minor cuts or scrapes, plus insect repellent, aloe vera gel to treat burns or insect bites, and baby pain relief.
9. Stroller or foldable beach trolley/wagon
There’s really no way of getting around taking all of these essentials when you head to the beach with your baby. However, it begs the question: how on earth are you going to get it all from the car to the shore, along with your baby?!
You’ll need either a stroller to put bub in while the adults carry everything like packhorses (or you make a few trips back to the car), or you could get what many parents have discovered to be the absolute beach must-have: the beach trolley. They’re big, durable, and built for sandy and rugged terrains.
10. A small inflatable pool
This is an optional item. It’s great to have, especially if you just want your baby to enjoy the water from your lovely shady spot at the beach. Inflate a very small blow-up pool or bath and fill it with water so your little one can stay safe, keep cool, get wet, and have some fun!