Beach Essentials for Baby [A Checklist for the Day!]

There’s nothing quite like sun, sand, and waves to make you feel like summer has truly arrived. If you’re heading to the beach with your baby, however, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared. On top of the diaper bag, you’ll need to grab all the beach essentials, too. Check out the handy lists below to make sure you have all your beach essentials for baby ready to go! 

Beach Essentials for Baby; The Basics

Packing for a day at the beach can be overwhelming even when you’re only planning for adults, but babies and toddlers have special needs to consider. Let’s start with the must-have baby beach gear:

  • Baby/Child Sunscreen

You should never use sunscreen on a baby less than six months old – stick to the shade and protective clothing for sun protection. This will keep your baby cool along with protecting them from a sunburn.

Then, when your child is old enough you can begin using sunscreen. For maximum effectiveness, apply a brand formulated for little ones 20-30 minutes before sun exposure begins. The higher the SPF, the better. Popular brands include Aveeno Baby, Babyganics, and Coppertone Baby, all of which work well for toddlers, too.

Check out our detailed article on baby-safe sunscreen here!

  • Umbrella/Tent/Cabana

Whichever type of sunshade you prefer, it’s all about providing a shady place for your child to play, snack or nap. Large beach umbrellas are handy for this purpose, as are specialized beach tents and cabanas. This tent with an included shade pool for your little one might come in handy, too! 

Looking for more baby beach tent options? Check them out here!

  • SPF Swimwear

Even with all the other precautions that you’re taking, swimwear with built-in SPF protection is a must-have for long days at the beach as well. RuffleButts offers SPF onesies with an easy-access zipper, while older kids may just need an SPF shirt like this one from VAENAIT to add over top of their swimsuit.

  • Mesh Beach Tote

There are tons of adorable beach bags on the market but look for a mesh option to cut the mess. Rather than bringing all the sand home with you, a mesh bag lets you shake it out and leave the sand on the beach.

This Suricata tote offers lots of space and utility, while this KUYOU bag offers a bonus built-in cooler.

  • Swim Diapers

Normal diapers become a soggy mess in water, so opt for using swim diapers for your little guy or gal. These reusable Nageuret swim diapers work well for babies, and it’s even possible to find boys’ swim trunks with a hidden swim diaper like this one from Green Sprouts.

  • Wet Bag

If you plan to let your kiddo get in the water, you’ll also want to replace her wet clothes before getting back into the car. Bring an extra bag specifically for wet items so you can keep them contained. You can also use this bag for soiled clothing as needed.

Look for a waterproof bag like this fold and stow version from Bag&Carry or this compact and stylish ESVAN bag.

Beach Essentials for Babies

With so many sights, sounds, and smells, the beach can be a veritable sensory explosion for your baby. Make sure it’s a positive experience by bringing along all the things you’ll need to keep baby comfortable, safe, and happy. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Waterproof Blanket

Sand can be hot and scratchy to sensitive baby skin, so a good blanket is a must – especially if your little one will be crawling around. Look for one that is large, waterproof, and easy to carry, like this lightweight version from DYD or this one from UrbanEco.

  • Extra Hydration

Hot days at the beach require drinking more water, so plan for extra fluids for your baby. This might mean packing extra formula or breast milk or having more water on hand than your child typically drinks.

Keep your baby’s beverage of choice cool for hours in this adorable Lilly Pulitzer beach cooler or this easy-carry backpack cooler from TOURIT.

  • Sun Hat

Even with sunscreen applied, babies are more susceptible to the sun than adults or older children. Add extra protection with a sun hat designed to shield your little beach-goer’s head, face, and neck.

This bright and breathable version from Babylab may work well for your little mister, while your little miss would be safe from the sun in this stylish and adjustable Jan & Jul sun hat.

Beach Essentials for Toddlers

Although their needs are a bit different than those of babies, toddlers require some special beach planning, too. You’ll want to add each of these to your beach gear list:

  • Floats

If your toddler will be venturing into the water – or even near it – safety is of the utmost importance. Finding the right type of flotation wear for your child will depend upon his unique needs, but many parents recommend Stearn’s Puddle Jumpers or the Stohlquist toddler life vest.

Be sure to check out our water safety tips here.

  • Water Shoes

Sand can often be too hot for little feet to walk on safely. Depending on the beach, it may also be full of rocks or shells than can cause injury. Water shoes offer protection from all of these dangers, and MySoft and Nautica offer two different versions depending on your preferences.

  • Baby Powder

Want in on a secret for keeping your ride home sand-free? Baby powder is your best friend when it comes to keeping sand out of your car and home. Apply a little to anywhere your toddler is sandy, and it will brush off easily!

Family beach trips offer an opportunity for little ones to explore and learn but failing to pack all the beach essentials for baby can make for a difficult day. Plan ahead by packing the items mentioned above, as well as beach toys to occupy your child in the event they don’t love the beach itself. With any luck, the whole family will enjoy the sun, sand, and relaxation while staying safe and comfortable, too.

What are your baby beach tips? We want to hear about them below in the comments!

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