Babies and the beach -- it sounds adorable and it also sounds like a recipe for disaster. The sun, the sand blowing all over the place, children running around not paying attention to where they're going. But it can be a fun and safe adventure with just a few precautions. Here are some important safety tips for babies at the beach.
Be careful with sunscreen: The American Pediatric Association does not recommend using sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months old. But for babies over 6 months, pick out a sunscreen with full-spectrum coverage but minimum toxins. I like California Baby unscented sunscreen sticks. Test for skin sensitivity first by applying just a stripe on an arm or leg. Don't use aerosol sunscreen sprays around babies and small children because they may inhale the spray.
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Get serious sun protection: For all babies, the best sun protection is to just stay out of the sun. Use an umbrella or a baby tent. Find a hat with SPF fabric. Keep your baby in long but loose clothing. And watch how your shade moves throughout the day.
Hydrate: Whatever your baby is eating these days, make sure she gets extra fluids while you're at the beach. If you're nursing, make sure you get extra water, too.
Watch the sand: It can blow in baby's eyes or irritate his skin. Make sure your baby naps far from the edge of your blanket. Put water shoes on his feet to protect them. If you do let your baby play in the sand, watch to make sure he doesn't put it in his mouth. If he does get sand in his mouth, rinse out and use your fingers to work it out. For sand in the eyes, just rinse out as much as you can with water but don't rub.
Caution around water: It can be fun to dip your baby's toes into the water -- but whether you're at a lake or ocean, you'll want to be careful with strong tides and waves. If you get knocked over, you'll be fine, but not so much for your baby! Never leave your baby playing unattended near the shore. Ever, ever, ever.
Are you planning to take your baby to the beach this summer?
Image via Jacobim Mugatu/Flickr