Taking a baby to the beach
February 18, 2010 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Eight-month-old at the beach. What do we need to know?

We're heading to Puerto Rico with our 8-month-old in a few days. The last time we went to the beach with him, he was two months old, so we just kept him shaded in his infant seat, and he mostly slept. This time, he's old enough to wear sunscreen and crawl around in (and possibly eat) the sand. What do we need to know about taking a baby to the beach? What kind of supplies do we need?
posted by sandor to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: #1: shade
#2: spoon or scoop or something to move sand around with
#3: shade
#4: all the usual baby stuff, like diapers, his food, etc.
#5: shade
If he puts some sand in his mouth (as my kid did) he will quickly realize it's not a fun thing to do, and stop.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:41 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would say you may wish to consider the uv protective bathing suits and sunscreen the rest of him. Children's Place sells bathing suits for infants with tops and shorts that are both cool, uv protective, and adorable. (Also, the shorts act as a diaper, so you don't need to put a diaper on underneath. If the babe pees, the swimsuit soaks it up like it does with water, and isn't that big of a deal--- though you may wish to have a few other cheap bottoms on hand for poop). A big floppy hat, and yes sunscreen.

Hydration is good while at the beach in hot weather, especially with lots of sun, so if babe is nursing, maybe offer a bit more than usual. If the babe is bottlefed, offer a couple of smaller bottles in between the regular ones. 8 months is old enough for a little bit of water, though nursing or formula is better. Fruits are also good for hydration.

Other than that, I don't think it should be any different than any other day outing.
posted by zizzle at 7:41 AM on February 18, 2010

You're so lucky, babies at the beach are fun! Sunscreen, beachtowel, long sleeved shirt, cool drinks and a hat. Measuring cups and spoons to dig, pour water and stir things. If there's access to showers, take a towel, washcloth, soft, cool change of clothes and bath soap in a ziploc so baby can be clean and cool and ready for nap when beachtime is over.
posted by Allee Katze at 7:50 AM on February 18, 2010

Please, please, PLEASE as a beach-goer, I beg that if you let the baby go in the water wearing a diaper, please dear God do not allow the diaper to fall off and float away into the ocean or leave it in the beach trashcans. There is very little as disgusting as a free-floating diaper in the ocean or a super stinky diaper sitting in a sun-baked trash can.
posted by banannafish at 7:52 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bottled water held in reserve not for drinking, but for cleaning sand out of his eyes.
posted by 8dot3 at 8:03 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

If he puts some sand in his mouth (as my kid did) he will quickly realize it's not a fun thing to do, and stop.

Or, like my then-eight-month-old, he may find it delicious, and then there will be sandy poop later, at which point you must tread very gently. But it (probably) won't be enough to cause any lasting damage.

Otherwise, seconding everything above. Sun protection (including a shady place to rest; we bought a tiny popup tent for this purpose but a big umbrella is also good), sand toys, hydration. UV-protective clothing is somewhat pricey but well worth it, and a big floppy hat with a chin strap will probably get you through a couple summers as they're often adjustable in small-child sizes.

My babies loved the beach!
posted by padraigin at 8:08 AM on February 18, 2010

Make sure you have someone who is clearly responsible for the baby for every minute you are at the beach.

Watch out for creeper waves, it's a good idea of have them in a baby life jacket if you are thinking of going in the water if there are any waves at all. I've seen parents knocked off their feet and panic a bit when the baby falls with them.

We bought a small inflatable kiddy pool and filled it up with sea water and put it under a beach umbrella. Our girl really enjoyed that when the surf was too large for us to splash around with her at the surf line.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 8:51 AM on February 18, 2010

You should know that someone is likely to come up to you and say something that will make you grit your teeth and count to ten, despite all your efforts.

For me it was, "That baby should have a hat on!" when my child was slathered in sunscreen and under an umbrella.

Some folks just can't help themselves.
posted by misha at 9:34 AM on February 18, 2010

Best answer: We dug a hole for my 10 month old and she sat in it for most of the afternoon, thoroughly entertained as her brother played around her. Enjoy.
posted by Wilberto at 10:21 AM on February 18, 2010

We bought this baby canopy thing that was like a small tent...that was useless. A beach umbrella is good enough.
posted by kenliu at 12:41 PM on February 18, 2010

My son refused to wear a hat, so bringing one is a good idea, but be sure to slather him from scalp to toes with a high SPF sunscreen frequently. A large sun umbrella you can stick in the sand to act as a shade-provider is great as long as it isn't super windy. Lots of water to drink and keeping sun off of the kid are your two biggest concerns.

Baby-sized life jackets / floatsuits didn't work for either of my boys. If anything, they seemed to want to orient them the wrong way, and forced their heads underwater, or they slipped out of them too easily. Your best bet is constant supervision.
posted by ehamiter at 3:19 PM on February 18, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, all!
posted by sandor at 5:21 PM on February 20, 2010

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