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Help a Mom: Essentials for beach trip with baby

Posted May 21, 2013

So many North Carolina piers have disappeared in the last 50 years, but the Holden Beach pier has endured.

I fielded this question from a mom of a baby the other week. She's headed to the beach with her son this summer and was wondering what type of products are out there that will make their vacation a little easier.

After eight years of beach trips with my own kids, I've learned that when you have young ones with you, it's always best to bring more swim diapers than you think you'll ever need, extra sunscreen and a bottle of water devoted to washing sand off little fingers and toes (though this mom mentioned she'd read somewhere online that baby powder does a great job removing sand. Has anybody tried this?).

I've always been partial to the wide brimmed sun hats like this one from Target. And when my kids were much younger (my younger one is 3), I thought the small beach tents for little kids were a great idea, but I never got one.

My main advice for a beach vacation with kids isn't what to bring, but what to do. And that is to follow your child's lead. Jump in the waves, make sand castles, try out the boogie board and listen to them. If they thrive on routine, keep to your routine at home as much as you can. That makes for happy kids, which makes for a happy mom.

What are your tips for taking little ones to the beach? (If you don't see the comments box below, you'll need to log in or sign up for a WRAL account. You can do that by going to the top of the page and clicking on either "log in" or "register").

Help a Mom features questions from readers every Wednesday. If you have a question that you'd like to ask Go Ask Mom readers, click here to email it to me.




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  • jcpoyer1 May 22, 2013

    We took a baby pool for the 1st two years and yes, schlepped fresh water to fill it a couple of inches. We put it under a canopy tent and our little one was happy and cool sitting in a few inches of water playing with bath toys.

  • nor98 May 22, 2013

    I saw on the beach last summer a baby in a little portable travel swing under the umbrella sleeping away. I wish I had thought of that one when mine was a baby. I also see babies that are sitting up in those dollar store blow up pools or the blow up bath tubs with a tiny amount of water (like a cup)just to keep it wet and toys to play with. We never had much luck with tents due to the wind. Umbrellas are much easier.

  • JLAllen May 22, 2013

    This and a beach umbrella were key for us last summer with a 5 month old.
    I also recommend a baby rash guard since you can't use sunscreen until six months and a two piece suit for girls to make diaper changes easier. They do have really cute reusable swim diapers for boys and girls now too (!

  • sduncan8 May 22, 2013

    I live at the beach and baby powder for sand is an essential in my beach bag, not just for the young ones either.