The Best Gear for a Day at the Beach with Babies & Toddlers

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Before you head back to the beach, check out this must-have beach gear for babies and toddlers. You’ll find everything you need, from a baby beach tent to swim diapers. Read on for beach gear essentials that guarantee maximum fun in the sun.

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A Beach-Themed Book

The Little Observers: At the Beach board book by Clare Beaton can help your little one get excited for your shore outing before you leave. And while you're there, use the book to point out what animals they're seeing, the sounds they're hearing, and what they might find in the sand. Read it together, or let your child page through the colorful images on their own.

Available here, $9.99.

Sandy Bumz

Genius, right? Sandy Bumz is a lightweight, easy to use cover that works for the beach, parks and other outdoor areas. The waterproof material keeps you, your kids and valuables dry, while the pop-up edges keep pesky sand and critters at bay. 

Available here, $29.

Baby-Friendly Sunscreen

Babies' sensitive skin needs serious protection from the sun. Opt for a mineral formula like the zinc oxide-based Baby Bum SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, which provides lightweight, non-greasy coverage without chemical sunscreens, parabens or other ingredients you may not want to put on your baby. It's packed full of coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter to hydrate baby's skin while it protects it from the sun's harsh rays.

Available here, $13.99.

Check out more of our favorite baby sunscreens.

photo: U-Stand

A Cooler and Umbrella Stand Combo

There's one thing that's certain when you are heading to the beach with kids, you're going to have your hands full. We love this umbrella stand and cooler combo because it keeps your umbrella from blowing away and your drinks cool at the same time. 

Buy it here, $49.99. 

Serious Sun Protection for the Whole Family

For the ultimate sun safety, keep your little one's delicate skin shaded with a wide-brimmed hat, and add a sun-protective rash guard or bathing suit along with sunscreen. Snapper Rock suits contain UPF50+ sun protection and block 98% of harmful UVA and UVB rays. Find cute suits for babies, toddlers, bigger kids and even adults.

Available here.

A Stroller Made for Sand

Parent pro tip: Dragging strollers behind you is the easiest way to make your way through sand. Better yet, regular beachgoers need the Priam stroller from Cybex. Put the luxury stroller into two-wheel mode and it's perfect for cruising on sandy beaches with all your gear until you find the perfect sunny spot. This sleek stroller features all-wheel suspension for a smooth ride wherever you are, a carrycot with mesh windows to keep baby cool, one-handed recline and folding, and a seat that can be placed forward-facing or parent-facing. 

Available here, $999.95 to $1,699.95.

A Soothing Balm

Wind, sand and sea water can all dry out a baby's sensitive skin, so your beach bag should include this moisturizing balm, which comes in a convenient stick. The Balm Stick from Pipette is free of synthetic fragrances, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free and vegan. Rub it on chapped lips, red cheeks, and any other area that could use some soothing. Use it on yourself, too!

Available here, $9.

Cozy Hooded Towels

Hooded towels aren't just for bath time. They're the perfect way to keep baby warm on breezy beach days. We love Green Sprouts' cheery, soft towels made from organic cotton muslin and knitted terry. They even have hand pockets for maximum coziness.

Available here, $24.99.

Effective Reusable Swim Diapers

If you're swimming a lot this summer, go for a reusable diaper in an adorable print like those from Bambino Mio. They're less bulky and likely to fit better than their disposable counterparts, so messes are less...messy. They come in an array of fun prints, including blue squid, green frogs, pink mermaids, and purple seahorses.

Available here, $15.49.

Prefer the convenience of a disposable swim diaper? Read on.

The Smart Disposable Swim Diaper

Hello Bello Swim Dipes have a clever core that avoids soggy balloon butt, thanks to the material's plant-derived, high-integrity bonded fiber. The advanced leak guard prevents waste from escaping, while the fit stretches and moves with your child. These swim diapers are hypoallergenic and made without latex, parabens and phthalates. Size small is like a diaper size 3, designed for 16-28 pounds (about 12-24 months).

Available at hellobello.com, $8.99.

A Fun Float

In calm waters, let baby laze around on this fun watermelon float from Big Mouth. Made for age 1 and up, the float features leg holes and a supported seat that helps keep baby upright. Pair with a baby life jacket (like Stearns' Puddle Jumper, below) for additional water safety and always stay within arms' reach.

Available at amazon.com, $19.98.

A Comfortable Life Jacket

Wearing a Puddle Jumper helps toddlers play in the water with slightly more freedom. This US Coast Guard-approved life jacket comes in soft woven polyester and an array of fun, kid-friendly prints. While kids can float independently wearing one of these, parents or another responsible adult should always stay nearby and provide "touch supervision," meaning they're close enough to reach the child at all times. Designed for kids 30-50 pounds.

Available here, $19.99.

Baby's Paddling Pool

The youngest of babies can splash around safely in the Spläsh pool from bblüv. Made from durable waterproof fabric (so you can place it on a beach blanket or in a tent), this pool comes together quickly by inserting the included noodle foam into the pool's liner. Add a little water and baby stays cool and can splash like the big kids. It comes with a collapsible bucket that's great for holding beach toys. Fold and store it in its carry bag, also included.

Available at amazon.com, $29.99.

Is your babe too big for this pool? Read on.

Packable Pool

For toddlers, pack a small baby pool like this one, which can be stored in a flat zippered bag when not in use. Fill with a little ocean water and add a few small toys. If you're lucky, baby will play happily, stay cool and never realize they can scale the sides!

Available at hearthsong.com, $39.98.

The Coolest Shades

Babiators carries cute sunglasses in sizes 0-6+, with UV400 lenses that provide 100% UVA and UVB protection. The frames are made from flexible rubber, and the lenses are impact- and shatter-resistant. Add the silicone strap to keep baby from ripping off their shades. Because they will definitely try.

Available here

The Perfect Pop-up Tent

A beach tent, especially one thats folds flat and is easy to set up, is a smart way to keep your little one safe from the sun. We love this stylish option from Pottery Barn Kids. Set out some fun toys for playtime, and use it for beach naps or a private nursing spot.

Available at potterybarnkids.com, $58.99 (small) or $76.99 (large).

The Do-It-All Beach Bag

This beach tote is more of a system than a simple bag. It comes complete with 4 buckets and 2 shovels, perfect for introducing baby to the art of making sand castles, along with a soft cooler to keep snacks and bottles chilled, and outside pockets for important extras. Everything fits into an easy-to-carry shoulder bag so you have one arm free for baby. You'll definitely find uses for this bag long after the baby stage.

Available at mybeachmate.com, $129.

Shady Spot

With Fisher Price's On-the-Go Baby Dome, your baby can nap or play outside, since its dual canopy system blocks sun from all angles. You'll also love that the whole thing folds flat, making it easy to take anywhere. It can also be used indoors.

Available at amazon.com, $59.

Sand & Surf Shoes

If your little one is walking, protect feet from hot sand, rocky terrain and slippery puddles with a pair of Stride Rite Phibians. The extra-grippy, flexible sneaker is made for playing in and out of water. Beyond the beach, they're your go-to shoe for splash pads and swimming pools.

Available at striderite.com, $35.

— Julie Seguss & Eva Ingvarson Cerise

featured photo: Ashley K Little via Pexels

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