Babies and the sea, parents’ fears and dilemmas
Many parents who enjoy spending time at the seaside and the beach have different dilemmas and questions: when can I take my baby to the seaside, does he/she need to have special swim diapers, goggles, do I need to give him/her a shower right after swimming in the sea, what happens if he/she swallows the seawater, etc… Don’t worry, babies love the sea in the same way you do, just that they are more sensitive, and we need to pay more attention, but in the right way without unnecessary fears.
Here are a few suggestions how I managed to take my four-month-old little shark and two-month-old little fish to the seaside, how we swam and had fun at the beach without any fears and dilemmas.
5 suggestions – Babies and the sea, fears and dilemmas:
When can my baby start swimming in the sea? As I mentioned before, my kids have been in the water since they were four months old, both in the swimming pool and the sea. Unlike at the swimming pool, you shouldn’t spend too much time in the sea with your baby. Ten minutes is enough for them to cool down, and if the water is colder, even less. Of course, the best time to take your baby to the beach is in the morning until 9am and then after 5pm. Then straight back into the shade.
Can babies dive in the sea? Yes, they can, but I would personally avoid it until they turn one. The reason is very simple. Their small and young kidneys cannot easily process the seawater before they are 12 months old. When I took my kids to the sea, they were always leaning against me, with their heads above my shoulder, in order to avoid the seawater getting in their eyes, mouth or nose, especially when there were waves. If someone splashes the water in their face, they will be ok. Maybe they will feel uncomfortable because of the salty water getting in their eyes, but don’t panic.
Do we need to give a shower to the babies after they swam in the sea? This should be done if it is possible. What I used to do is to bring a bottle of fresh water that would get warm in the sun and use it to wash out the salty seawater. Sometimes it happened that I forgot to bring the bottle or there were no possibilities to get more fresh water, and nothing major happened. I’d give them a shower once we returned to our room.
Do babies need to wear swimming suits at the seaside? When they are very young, until they are 6 months old, they can wear the swim diapers. Sometimes I’d even take them off, so they could feel free, and I’d just put the swimming suit on. What I would always have them wear are the long sleeve tops with the UV protection, but do not forget to put the sunblock on before that. I’d also put a wet hat on their heads. My suggestion is to put the
sunblock cream at home or in the car, so you avoid having them rolling in the sand.
Therefore, relax and enjoy the time with your baby at the seaside. He/she won’t know the difference whether you are on the moon or at the seaside, because the most important thing is that they feel safe next to you. If you still have time before you go on holiday, stop by at the local swimming pool in order to get ready for the seaside.
However, what I would definitely advise is no matter if your baby is 6 or 12 months old, or even older, do not ever push them into the sea if they start crying in advance. Let their eyes and ears get used to the new environment. The easiest thing would be just to dip them into the sea while they are crying, but in that way you risk provoking a fear of water.