Yesterday, Sarah had some great tips for traveling to the beach with the kiddos. In a few weeks we will be heading to the beach for vacation and it got me thinking of some of my favorite things we bring with us that make a day in the sun a bit easier.
I have been going to the beach since infancy. I am fortunate that my grandparents had the foresight LONG ago to purchase a beach house in MA, and it has been a part of my summers for as long as I can remember. Also in my memory are the hoards of beachgoers and their umbrellas that get taken away by the shifting wind and threaten to impale sleepy tanners or small children. Umbrellas are important to keep some much needed shade available for little kids and hot adults, but the hazards of a flimsy one can lead to awkward stares or running down the beach to retrieve a lost one. We also have tried the canopy types, but those are even more likely to send you in the air like Mary Poppins! The Sport-Brella is perfect for shade and adults and kids can easily fit underneath them, along with coolers and toys. The flaps can either be kept up or down and go into the sand with stakes (similar to a tent) to keep it in one place (grab a few extra stakes at the store in case you lose them when packing up). I can attest to the fact that it has survived a couple of very windy days and not moved! It opens and closes easily and comes with a nice roomy bag that we can always get the umbrella back into. The site sells them for $60, but we found our at Ocean State Job Lots for a bit less.
Nozone Swim Suit
The Nozone Swimsuits are a MUST HAVE! Trying to put sunscreen on a wriggly toddler will ruin your mood at the beach and this suit allows for less application on exposed areas. They have a UPF rating of 50+ and protect from 98% of the sun’s harmful rays. They are super lightweight and dry very quickly. My kids have big heads, and a swim shirt becomes a torture device! This suit has a nice front zipper for easy on and off, and a zipper around the inseam so no need to remove the whole thing for diaper changes! The sizes run fairly close to size, but getting a size up can’t hurt! I bought Ava her first suit when she was 7 months old and got an 18 month size (she was wearing mostly 12 month clothes at the time). We had to roll the sleeves and legs a bit, but come last summer when she was 18 months old (wearing 18-24 month clothes) it still fit and we just had to apply sunscreen to the bottom of her legs and arms. She never got hot and sweaty, enjoyed the water without being wet all day, and an added bonus was less sand in cracks and crevices of her chubby little legs! You can find them on their website or on Amazon for between $26-39! They even have suits for older kids and adults!
PeaPod Travel Bed
When we go to the beach house we like to spend as much time on the beach as possible. Travelling with an infant or toddler who still naps may mean leaving the fun in the sun to retreat to the house for a nap, but this bed tent allowed for hubby and I to continue to enjoy time on the beach with Miles while Ava slept. The PeaPod Travel bed is great for the beach or any travel you do. It folds up nicely (about the size of a steering wheel) and comes with an inflatable mattress that you can put in a zippered compartment of the bed. It is very breathable, allowing for breezes and air to get in, and has slots for you to stake it to the sand so there is no rolling or tipping if baby moves. We would put her in this and she would sleep her full 2 hour nap, versus the 35 minutes she would get in a stroller, or worse, someones arms. We would even use this when we would travel to a relatives house for nap time, replacing the bulky pack ‘n play on most occasions. It has a lot of space (the pic above is a very large 7 month old Ava) and would not be hard to fit a toddler in. We found ours at Babies R Us on sale for $50 (regular $65), and you can always use their 20% off coupons for a better price.
Ever since I posted my Toxin a Day series people have asked me what kind of sunscreen I use. I have used All- Terrain and Earth’s Best Organic Sunscreen, but my all-time favorite is BabyGanics Cover Up Baby. It has a 50+ SPF and is rated a 2 on the EWG Sunscreen Guide (you can check out your current sunscreen there as well). It is oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate free, and can last up to 80 minutes before reapplication even, after swimming. It applies easily, though it is thicker and white, so make sure you rub it in good. My kids have never had any problems with it, even Ava and her sensitive skin! You can find it in 6oz tubes at Babies R Us for about $10 (again you can use their coupon for a better price and sometimes they are on sale buy one get one), or online.