What to Bring to the Beach with a Baby or Toddler
Summertime is quickly approaching, and with that comes hopefully many more days outside with your kids! If you’re thinking about venturing out to the beach with babies or toddlers, or even just to the park, there’s definitely some extras that you want to have to keep your kids healthy and protected from the summer sun.
I had no idea where to start with a lot of this summer baby gear, but we needed all the protective gear and baby summer weather and beach hacks since my son was born while we were living in Thailand, and we had to deal with crazy hot temperatures (but also amazing beaches!) everyday.
After a lot of research and purchases, we ended up with a great list of go-to items for summer, so here are my top beach essentials for baby.
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Related Reading: Affordable One-Piece Swimsuits for Every Mom
Baby Safe Sunscreen
The most important, practical item on the list of hot weather to do’s for me was to find a baby friendly, natural as possible sunscreen. Thinkbaby’s sunscreen came up on a few lists, so I decided to give it a try, and it is fantastic. I’ve never purchased a different brand for my kids.
So why do we love it? For starters, it goes on smoothly, doesn’t leave a greasy feel, and doesn’t have a super strong scent. My kids have never once complained about having it on (and they complain about many many things), and it offers great protection. I also love that it’s free of any biologically harmful chemicals.
Even though we had our first baby in swim lessons from when he was just a few months old, having some sort of flotation device is a must-have for me when my kids are anywhere near water. (You can spot the baby floatie we used for my daughter in the big pool in the corner of this picture!)
For toddlers these Puddle Jumpers are our favorites. They get amazing reviews – and for good reason. My son loves wearing these, and they keep him upright in the water, while also allowing him to control his movement.
*Note that these are meant for kids who weigh at least 30lbs.*
Insect Repellant Wipes
Mosquitos and other bugs seem to flock to my kiddos, so we needed a repellent that was safe for them, and easy to use.
These Cutter wipes are our favorites. They have Deet in them – so they actually work – and having them in wipe form makes them so much easier to put on the kids, and I don’t have to worry about spray getting everywhere.
As an added bonus, these wipes also don’t leave you feeling greasy, and the scent is not overpowering.
Sun Hats (With Extra Coverage)
Having a good hat to protect your little ones from the sun is so important. For younger babies, we love our iPlay sun hats. These cover the back of their neck, their ears, and have a tie that allows you to adjust the size and secure it under their chin. They also come in a bunch of adorable colors.
We also love this similar summer hat by the same company.
For older toddlers, we’ve found some really cute hats at Baby Gap. I also want to try out this cute bucket hat from Amazon that gets great reviews, and has UPF 50+ protection like the iPlay hats.
Speaking of hot weather and beach essentials, a portable fan is probably one of the best purchases we’ve made. This little clip-on fan is made for strollers, but we’ve clipped it on to basically anything we can – like baby carriers and beach tents – in order to give a little extra air to our little ones.
It’s small, battery powered, pretty affordable, and it swivels. We still carry this one around with us.
Baby Beach Tent
If you have a young, non-mobile baby, a baby tent with built in UV protection is such a great beach essential for baby. We have this fantastic one by Schylling (pictured above) that folds up and comes with its own case that easily fits into a suitcase.
This baby beach tent can work as a play area or a sleep area, and our son loved it. It also has pegs to keep it tied down if you’re using it at the beach, but you can also use it in your background or at the park. This was a must have for us.
Related Reading: How to Spring Clean Your Kid’s Room
Rashguards with SPF protection are amazing for protecting your baby’s delicate skin.
I love the swimshirts by Baby Gap, and Janie and Jack in particular, because they have a ton of options/styles, and good sales.
All of the current ones we own are sold out, but both still have some really cute options available for toddlers, like this one, this one, this one (which we have in a different color and love), and this one.
Swim diapers are a must if you’re planning to take your child to the pool or the beach. Regular diapers soak up liquid, which makes for a huge, pool water-filled diaper, while swim diapers do the exact opposite.
We started our son in swim lessons at a crazy young age, and the swim school required that we use these Huggies swim diapers. We were told those worked the best, and they are still our favorites, three years later.
Mom Tip: Swim diapers are really only meant to hold in baby poop, in case that happens in the pool or at the beach. I didn’t fully realize this in the beginning, but they do not hold pee at all, so beware of letting your baby run around in a swim diaper for too long indoors (or letting them sit in your lap for too long!).
It’s hit or miss with my kids and trying to get them to keep their sunglasses now, but as babies, they happily kept them on, and they were really helpful. We’ve always used Roshambo sunglasses, which have UV protection, and they have been great and lasted several years.
The best things about these glasses? Aside from the UV protection (which is especially important for babies), they are super lightweight and BPA free.
The best part, though, is that they are very hard to break. Basically, you can bend them, chew on them, essentially drag them across the floor, and they just don’t snap.
Roshambo also guarantees them baby-destructer proof for the first year, so if something does happen, they will replace them!
Summer Friendly, Breathable Sandals
My favorite sandals for the kids are, handsdown, the Flex sandals by Pediped. These come in smaller baby sizes, as well as toddler and “big kid.”
Pediped’s shoes are amazing for so many reasons: they’re machine washable(!!), water-safe, eco-friendly, and they are made to support healthy foot development. My kids have both the Flex sandals, and a pair of sneakers from Pediped, because the quality is so high. I can’t recommend this brand enough.
Another bonus is that they have a rewards program, so you earn a credit with each purchase. You can also get $5 off your first purchase through this link!
What are your beach essentials for baby and must-haves for the summertime?
Other Summer and Travel Related Articles:
- The Best Tips for Traveling with Kids
- One-Piece Affordable Swimsuits Moms Will Love
- Diaper Bag Essentials: What to Pack in Your Diaper Bag for a Newborn