Now that flying isn’t the means of travel many parents are willing to take and we are spending more time outside, camping is the perfect solution to getting away without the stress of flying or staying at someone’s home or at a hotel.

For parents that are considering camping with their baby or young child for the first time, there are probably lots of questions. We are here to tell you that these questions are completely normal, and that you are not the first person to be asking. What do I need to do to keep my baby safe while camping? Where is my baby going to sleep? What do I need to pack? These are just a few questions parents are thinking about. We asked some moms and dads who have young kids and a passion for camping, plus a few gear experts to share their thoughts and advice. They had a lot to tell! Here are some of our favorites in terms of the basics, activities, and gear.

Where Should My Baby Sleep? 

One of the hardest parts about being a parent is making sure that everyone gets a quality night’s sleep. Being outside and having few lights can add to the difficulty. Everyone that we asked agreed that it is essential to make a solid plan in advance. Even if your baby sleeps in a crib at home, we have found that several companies make lightweight and portable travel beds. Keep in mind that you want your baby to have their own space that can be portable for afternoon naps and easy to move into the tent for nighttime sleeping. During the day, the baby can nap next to you while you relax or read a book. In the evening, you can easily bring the travel bed inside your tent for a secure space for the baby to sleep. We also recommend having a night-light or flashlight handy just in case you need something during the night when it can be quite dark.

Where Can My Baby Relax during the Day?

It’s a beautiful day and all you want to do is sit by the fire or fish by the lake. Here’s where you run into a couple of problems: your baby doesn’t want to sit on your lap or in your arms, and you don’t want to put them on the ground because of the dirt and bugs. We know it’s camping, but first-timers usually have a different set of expectations in terms of keeping their baby clean. If you find yourself in this situation, we recommend having something like KidCo’s GoPod Travel Activity Seat. It allows your baby to sit comfortably and stay entertained. The activity seat offers the perfect eye level for your baby to see what’s around them, and they won’t miss out on any of the fun! While you get to enjoy your surroundings, your baby will have a good time too. We love that it folds up to a small size and is lightweight. Seeing many families post their camping fun with this item made us want to see what this product was all about.

How Do I Keep My Baby Entertained? 

While camping it is important to enjoy the simple pleasures of nature. With that in mind, there is no need for any distractions from screens or any other devices. Gazing up at the sky and just taking in the beautiful view is a great way to feel the joy that nature brings.

How Can You Maximize the Gear You Bring?

It is inevitable to feel like you need to bring your entire house when you go camping—especially with a baby. While camping, it is extremely important to only take what’s actually necessary for the entire family. Try and double up the use of items. For example, your baby can use the travel seat as a high chair to eat and as a rest stop by the lake. Lots of parents love babywearing and have told us that sometimes they will leave a heavy stroller at home and opt for a sling or baby carrier. There are many different brands and the best advice we received was to ask around, do your research, and make a selection based on your personal preferences and habits.

How Can Your Baby Stay Protected from the Sun?

The sweltering summer sun can be a lot for every family member. We think it is especially important to keep your baby’s skin in mind. It is essential that your baby has a protective hat and a physical sunscreen applied if they are over six-months-old. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says that all kids should be wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. This is so important that we’re taking a direct quote from the experts: “The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for any extended outdoor activity. Regardless of the SPF, though, it’s important to apply one ounce (two tablespoons) 30 minutes before going outside and reapply it every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.”

Also, don’t forget that cute hat can protect baby from the sun’s harmful rays, especially if your baby is under six-months-old. Parents and gear experts told us that they like playards that double as a safe spot for kids to play and offer some protection from the sun.

Camping as a family has so much to offer. It’s a chance to be amazed by Mother Nature, see things through the eyes of your child, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Oh, and don’t forget the bug repellent!

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