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A day at the beach can be so relaxing and rejuvenating. Until you throw a baby in the mix. Then it can be exhausting and stressful, especially if you get halfway there and realize you forgot something your baby needs.
This beach essentials for baby list will help get you started on making sure you pack all of the necessities. When including the newest, most important member of your family, your day will go swimmingly (see what I did there?) as long as you are prepared with a list.
1. Beach Tote
For starters, you’re going to need something to put all of this stuff in. Taking a baby out for the day involves a lot of gear, and making sure you have a beach-safe tote that you’re comfortable taking in the sand and sun, you’ll be ready for anything.
It should be easy to wipe clean, large enough to hold everything, and lightweight.
2. Separate Wet Bag
Along with your easy-to-wash beach tote, you might want to bring a separate wet bag for swimsuits, shoes, towels, and anything else you don’t want to mix with dry or clean stuff. This makes it super easy to throw everything in the wash when you get home, and it also keeps the backseat clean.
3. Good Sunscreen
Protecting baby is a must. You also need to be sure to protect yourself. High SPF that blocks both UVA and UVB rays will give your little one the extra protection they need. You should also be sure the sunscreen you get for your baby has ingredients that are safe for their sensitive skin.
Some studies show that the chemicals in sunscreen can be dangerous for young children. Whether you believe that or not, one of the best things you can do in addition to sunscreen, is cover up against additional sun exposure.
4. SPF Swimsuits and Hats
That leads us to our next necessities, which are SPF swimsuits and hats. Covering your baby up to protect them from excessive sun exposure is a must. Even with sunscreen, you and your baby’s skin will be crispy within a few hours.
There are swimsuit designs for infants made with breathable, cool fabric, but have long sleeves and additional coverage. You can even find swimsuits that have SPF in the fabric for extra protection.
Your baby may not love wearing a swim hat, but if you enforce it now, you’ll be grateful you did. It will protect the most sensitive parts of their body like face, ears, and neck, even when using plenty of sunscreen.
5. Water Shoes
For little ones who can already walk, water shoes are a good investment, because they protect their feet from anything that may be in the sand or water. You can’t always guarantee a clean experience, but you can ward off injury.
Even when you’re sure the beach crews have done a great job cleaning up any glass or other trash, you can’t be too sure that a broken seashell didn’t wash up overnight.
If you struggle to get your baby to wear a hat, or you want extra shady measures for everyone else, a large beach umbrella will be your saving grace. Rather than paying for a beach attendant to pitch an umbrella for you, bring your own and sit under it.
It’s a comfortable place to relax. It gives your body a break from the sun, and it gives you peace of mind knowing everyone is safe.
Rather than spreading out towels under the umbrella and getting sand you-know-where, bring some collapsible beach chairs. When you’re not sunbathing or swimming, you can sit under the umbrella in your lounge chairs and observe.
8. Baby Beach Chair
If you’re bringing chairs, you might as well pack one for the baby. These pop up chairs are easy to set up and give your baby a great place to take a break and eat a snack. It’s also a nice way to keep them off the sand while they play with toys.
9. Portable Fan
Keeping cool on a hot day is tough, even in the shade. You won’t regret bringing a portable fan or two so everyone can have a cool breeze when they need it.
10. Water, Snacks, and a Cooler
A refreshing drink for everyone is a must. Staying hydrated will ensure that the day after your beach trip isn’t miserable. Being in the sun all day is exhausting, so make sure you bring plenty to drink.
A cooler is necessary to keep the water you bring cold. While hot water will keep you hydrated just as well, it’s not an appetizing thought for anyone.
And if you’re going to be at the beach all day, you’re definitely going to need sustenance. Pack meals for everyone and bring plenty of snacks. This can ward off the munchies and the hot and tired grumpies, even in Mom and Dad.
11. Swim Diapers
If you plan to get in the water, you can’t forget extra swim diapers. You’ll only make that mistake once. While swim diapers don’t work outside of the water, they’re a must for playing in it.
Make sure you wear a regular diaper to the beach and then change when you get ready to get in, otherwise you’ll have a very leaky situation. Then make sure you change back into a regular diaper for playing in the sand.
12. Regular Diapers
You need regular diapers, too. Especially if you’ll be playing in the sand or taking naps in the shade. Bring plenty so your baby can go back and forth between the water and the sand without running out of absorbent undies.
13. Diaper Rash Cream
With all that lingering moisture, it’s a good idea to make sure you have some diaper rash cream with you. Make sure you bring plenty. It doesn’t hurt to have too much. Salt water and heat, coupled with sand can make for a very uncomfortable baby.
Don’t be shy, either. Diaper rash cream can be a lifesaver for anyone who is dealing with some discomfort after wearing a wet bathing suit all day. There’s no shame in making sure everyone treats those sore spots.
14. Baby Powder
This quick tip is one not many people know, but it’s a lifesaver on the beach. Your baby’s skin is ultra sensitive right now, and sand can be pretty abrasive. You can rinse the sand off or brush it off with a towel, but baby powder makes it practically fall off.
Rather than rubbing sand all over your baby’s legs and diaper area, gently rub baby powder on all of the areas that are covered with sand, and the sand will no longer stick. It comes off so much easier than anything else.
It will also save on dirty towels if you use it for the whole family right before you get in the car. It’s fast, easy, and will keep the car clean, not to mention soak up any excess moisture and make your ride home smell yummy.
15. Spray Bottle
Here’s another neat trick. Invest in a really cheap spray bottle and fill it with water before you leave. It pulls double duty as a way to mist your baby and keep them cool without drenching them, and it can help keep little hands clean.
If you’re concerned about playing and digging in the sand and then putting toys or hands in their mouth, you can spray everything off when it gets dirty to ensure they’re not unsanitary.
Make sure you have some sort of floatation device for your baby. If they’re not walking yet, you can get one that they sit in, that way they can float around with you when you get in the water.
If they’re walking or running, puddle jumpers are fantastic for both safety and comfort.
Your child will need extra supervision in the water no matter how old they are, but a floatie can ensure that they stay afloat, even if they get knocked over by a wave or two.
17. Baby Carrier
Sometimes, the safest way to get your baby near the water is to put them in a baby carrier. That way they’re secure and you can wade in the water yourself without risking them falling out of their floatie.
Just be careful, because the farther in you go, the easier you’ll fall down, submerging your baby as well. It could be dangerous if you’re not careful. Sitting down at the edge of the water is always a safe bet.
Also be sure your baby carrier is made of a breathable material so your baby won’t get too hot, and make sure the fabric is safe for ocean water. A machine washable carrier is a plus because you can just run it through a quick cycle at the end of the day.
18. Towels and Blankets
These items protect you, your baby, and your belongings from getting sand in every crevice. You know what I’m talking about. It also offers you a way to dry off and stay warm when you’ve been in the water. Even on a hot day, a gentle breeze can chill your baby when they’re wet.
Blankets large enough for the whole family are fun ways to lounge in the sand under an umbrella and take naps or play.
There’s only so much of the salty choppy water your baby can take. Make sure you bring something else for them to do so they’ll be entertained when they’re not in the water. Bringing a few different options will ensure that any age has a great experience.
20. Pop Up Tent
While this isn’t a must, it’s definitely something that can help protect against UV rays, and it offers an exciting way for your baby to get away from all of the activity of the beach. If they begin to feel overwhelmed, they can retreat.
It’s also a great place for them to play with toys or for you to perform private diaper changes that you’d otherwise have to do out in the open.
These pop up tents are quick and easy to set up. Just make sure you have stakes that offer stability on windy days. This offers more shade than an umbrella at midday, but isn’t big enough for the whole family.
21. Portable Bassinet
While it might seem like overkill, if you have a very small infant, a portable bassinet can make your day at the beach a whole lot more bearable. It keeps your baby safe, off of the sand, away from the water, and in a comfortable place where they can rest and sleep.
22. Portable Playpen
If your child is a bit old for a bassinet, you could bring along a portable playpen. It gives your baby a safe place to play out of the sand and you can keep all of their toys clean as well. As an added bonus, if your child is safe inside a playpen, you won’t have to chase them down the beach.
It’s easy to keep them away from the water until you’re ready to go in. It’s a great way to ensure you get some time to relax without worrying about where your child is.
23. Baby Beach Pool
If the waves prove to be too much for your little one, you might want to consider bringing a pop up pool so they can enjoy some time in the water without actually getting in the water. Dig a small hole in the sand, tuck the pool into it, fill it with water, and your baby can be free to splash around in water that’s shallow, calm, and much less intimidating.
24. Disposable Diaper Bags
There may not be a trash bin handy where you’re sitting on the beach, meaning you need an easy way to keep your area clean while you relax and play. Disposable diaper sacks could be just the thing.
Not only can you put your dirty diapers in it to keep them cleaned up until you hit the garbage, but you can clean up snack wrappers, empty water bottles, and all of your other trash to keep the beach safe and clean for others.
If disposable diaper bags are too small for the damage you think you’re going to do, don’t hesitate to bring large garbage bags. It’s better than littering or throwing your trash in your beach tote until you can make it to the trash receptacle.
25. Beach Stroller
If you’re worried about getting your baby from the car to your favorite spot on the beach, investing in a stroller that can roll easily on sand is a must. With larger tires and deeper tread, these strollers are ultra durable and roll easily across the soft beach.
If you use the same stroller you use all the time, your baby will likely already be familiar with it, which is a bonus, but make sure it’s one that can tolerate the sandy beach. If it doesn’t roll on sand, it’s not worth the hassle at all.
Jogging strollers work great on sand, but regular walking strollers or the stroller that came with your car seat do not.
26. Beach Wagon
Now, after adding all of that up, you’re going to need an easy way to drag it across the sand to your favorite spot. That’s where a beach wagon comes in handy. You want something lightweight enough to pull, but with large and rugged wheels that are durable enough to hold everything you need and roll easily on the beach.
While not necessary, extras like a removable canopy could eliminate your need for a tent or an umbrella when you need some shade for your little one. Cup holders or a place to put a cooler is also a plus on hot, sunny days.
A day at the beach with a baby can be a blast, but only if you come prepared. It’s really difficult to guarantee a good time if you don’t have the things you need to keep your baby safe and entertained.
Hopefully this list was helpful to you. Of course, you don’t have to bring everything on it. You may find that some of these items are more useful to you than others, and tailoring this list to work for you is the key to having a great time.
If there are other items you’ve found useful for your baby at the beach, let us know in the comments below! As always, share this list with your friends so they can benefit from a few extra tips, too!