Baby Gone Beach-Our Guide to Beach Must-Haves and Leave Behinds

Happy Summer! I hope you're relaxing by the pool with a cold drink in your hand, not stressing out about packing everything you need for summer vacation like I am. However, if you are stressing about that first beach vacation with kids, you've come to the right place.

Check out the guide below for all of my family beach vacation must-haves, as well as what to leave at home:

Don't Burn Baby, Burn!

My friends over at ThinkBaby.org came up with a comprehensive list of the best and worst sunscreens for your baby to toddler. As they say in the article, " Finding the perfect sunscreen for your baby is not an exact science and it does involve plenty of trial runs until you find the one that you like the most. The most important thing is not to expose your baby directly to the sun and to have light layers of clothing even with the sunscreen on."


Buzz off, bugs!

You don't want bug bites to get in the way of a good time. Read on below for more information on applying insect repellent safely.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics says that insect repellents containing deet are safe for children as young as 2 months. Bug repellents with deet come in varying strengths -- some contain up to 30-percent deet. A higher concentration of deet doesn't mean a product is stronger, only that it lasts longer
  • Although deet is safe for use on children, many parents prefer to use bug repellents that are deet-free. Natural repellents are made with plant oils such as citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, and cedarwood. They generally need to be reapplied more often than products containing deet.
  • Lotions that combine bug repellent and sunscreen might sound like a good idea, but they aren't. The reason is that sunscreen needs to be reapplied every few hours, but you shouldn't expose your children to that much bug repellent

Here are some of the top reviewed sprays for children:

Cutter All Family Mosquito Wipes


Swimsuits and Sunhats and Water Shoes: Oh My!

When it comes to beachwear, simple and easy to put on is always better. ALWAYS. When shopping for baby/toddler girls, always buy a two piece suit or a one piece that snaps at the bottom like a onesie. I just bought my youngest this one from Cat and Jack at Target.


I love these long sleeved rash guard bathing suits for baby/toddler boys.They also have snaps at the bottom for easy diaper changes.


If you're worried about keeping your baby warm in the ocean or pool, check out the Confidence Babywarma Swimsuit it enables babies to stay warmer in the pool or ocean for much longer than would be possible without it. Babywarma is made of a very high-grade neoprene fabric to insulate baby while allowing parents to keep a firmer grip on their child in the water.


If you want to cut down on waste and save money at the same time (Those swim diapers are hella expensive!!) consider these reusable swim diapers from Nageuret.They're adjustable and fit children from 8-36 lbs. so you can get years of use out of them.


These aqua socks from JIASUQI are so easy to slip on, with no annoying straps or velcro to attach. Hallelujah!


For protecting baby's tender head, there is no better cover than the iPlay Flap Sun Hat. It is water resistant, machine washable, made of UPF 50 fabric and comes in every color of the rainbow.


I love these sunglasses from Tuga. They come with two different comfy straps, one for ages 0-2 and the other for ages 2-5. You have to love something that will grow with your child for their first five years.


Float On

Puddle Jumpers are the only floaties my kids have ever needed. They each have their own and they've really held up over the last 6 years.


I've also heard great things about the Full Throttle Infant/Child Life Vests. They provide a pop-up pillow for added head support and additional safety and a grab strap for quick recovery if necessary.


Sit on it, Potsie

You probably won't have much time to sit, but it is nice to have something to rest your sandy behind on during those hard won moments alone. I got this Coleman chair last year and I love it! It is a little bit bulkier than some other foldable chairs, but I love the side cooler bag, cup holders and plastic sleeve where I can keep my phone handy.


If you don't feel like lugging a heavy folding chair, try one of these backpack chairs from Rio Beach. It has 4 reclining positions, a pillowa, cupholder and it's pretty lightweight.


If neither of the options above are your speed, try rolling up one of these giant blankets from Chillax. It comes with a carrying bag that is stitched to it so you can't lose it and it is small enough to fit in a beach bag when folded down. The RIP-STOP nylon fabric is sand, water and heat repellent. It also comes with 4 SandPockets to keep your blanket in place even in windy days.


Made in the shade

A little sun is good for babies, but too much can be very harmful. If you're planning to spend a whole day at the beach, it's important to keep babies in the shade the majority of the time.

This is the sun tent I used when my kids were babies. It easily folds down and fits into a small carrying case that you can throw in your beach bag. This tent held up through three kids over 6 years.


They also make a lot of sun tents now with a built in pool underneath to keep baby extra cool. I haven't tried this, but this one from The Hamptons Baby was the best reviewed on Amazon.


They also make a lot of sun tents now with a built in pool underneath to keep baby extra cool. I haven't tried this, but this one from The Hamptons Baby was the best reviewed on Amazon.


Intex Sunset Glow Inflatable Baby Pool- This cheap pool is a great choice for the beach. It's compact, easy to inflate and inexpensive enough that you can buy one every year if you need to.


Codream Mesh Beach Bag- This leak-proof beach bag has a cooler attached to the bottom that can hold up to 12 cans. It also has two outside pockets to keep your phone or car keys.

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SAFEGO Portable Indoor/Outdoor Lock Box Safe- If you get nervous about leaving your cell phones, cameras, wallets, etc. hidden while you're swimming in the ocean, this is the product for you. It has a three number combination lock and key and it has a cord to attach it to your beach chairs or umbrellas. It's also water and sand resistant.

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The Shader- Dave Baldwin from Fatherly, an awesome dad blog, describes this amazing beach shade that you never knew you needed in his article, The 16 Best Beach Gear to Help Make Your Next Beach Day Go Smoothly:

"At first glance, Shader looks like somebody removed the canopy of a baby stroller and used it to cover their head on a beach. In reality, it’s a portable (and collapsible) sun shield designed in Australia to take the place of whatever you’re currently using to block your face from the sun ⏤ be it a hat, magazine, or t-shirt. That said, the thing comes loaded with bonus features including a removable pillow with integrated chill pack, a six-cup drink holder, and a phone/iPad solar charging panel that can accommodate a USB-powered fan. It also attaches to chairs, boasts an internal pocket for your wallet, and comes with a beach bag that also has room for a towel. Now that’s one hell of a stroller canopy."

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UE Roll 2- So this is totally going on my birthday wishlist! This tiny portable speaker is completely waterproof and boasts a 100 ft. Bluetooth wireless range and 9 hr. rechargeable battery life. It's lighter than a can of soda and even comes with its own float to keep your music close to you in the pool.


Mac Sports Heavy Duty Collapsible Folding All Terrain Utility Wagon Beach Cart- This large capacity wagon folds down to only 10" thick, but carries up to 150 lbs. It also has a small table with two cup holders.


The Rinse Kit- If you're like me and hate waiting in line to wash off your feet, just to have your kids get all sandy again on the short walk from the shower to the car, this kit might be well worth the $75 price tag. The rinse kit provides 4 minutes of high pressure water so you can get everyone clean right before hopping into the car. Score!


Or, for a much cheaper alternative, keep a couple jugs of water in your trunk.

Sand-Off! Sand Cleaner Wipe Off Mitt- This mitt contains a patented, dry body wash powder formulation embedded in the mitt to remove sand with no mess; plush terry cloth applicator feels leaves skin soft and sand-free.


Keep it at home

  • Don't bring kids their own beach chairs! They take up a lot of space in the car and they're tough to carry. They are too young to have bad backs, so they can sit on the sand just like we all did when we were young!
  • If you're going somewhere where you can rent umbrellas, don't bring your own. It's worth it to not have to carry your own all the way from the car. Your back will thank you.
  • When it comes to beach gear, know your own child. If you have a sleepy baby, a small foldable beach tent may be all you really need. For a really active toddler, you won't get them to sit still in the sun tent or baby pool for more than five minutes so it's smarter to leave them in the car.


Enjoy the beach!

♥ Erin

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