As the Florida summer heat subsides, I am planning on making many more trips to the ocean and having fun in the sand. Alexis is the ultimate water baby, and so am I. So the beach is where we both belong. In the meantime I have found a few things that have made our beach outings bearable even in the summer heat. Some of them are absolute must haves for a baby, as far as I am concerned. I have put together these items hoping they would make being at the beach pleasurable even with a young baby and to my surprise they WORKED FABULOUSLY!
The most successful find this summer has been a family beach tent. When I saw one by One Step Ahead on Amazon, I immediately thought it was a good idea and the best way to keep our little one out of the sun at the beach, but I was concerned that it’d get too hot inside, we would never use it, or that it is too hard to put together or it falls apart with any gust of wind. After talking to Emily at One Step Ahead, I decided to try it out and see. We took it with us on our second beach outing with Alexis in the evening. Andrew and Scott set it up while we watched. It was up in less than a minute and even though it was pretty windy that day, it stood just fine the whole time.
Andrew said it was pretty easy to set it up, but I was still a bit intimidated until I had to do it myself the next time. It was a breeze! It pops up as soon as you get it out of the bag and all you have to do is put stakes down and tie it up. The only thing I still don’t know how to do is fold it back up, because Andrew has always done it for me. The cabana has UPF 50+ protection, it has nice see through mesh windows, as well as front and back flaps that open and close with a zipper for some cross breeze. We would position it so that the sun was facing one of the mesh sides and open both the flaps on the other side to get some air circulating. The mesh sides can have sun protection as well, if you’d like to roll the fabric down. So whenever Lexi and I weren’t swimming, we were hanging out at the cabana. Lexi was mesmerized by the fabric flapping in the wind. She wasn’t hot even for a second AND to my BIGGEST surprise, she fell asleep inside of it! My Lexi, the one who never falls asleep ANYWHERE but in our bed, fell asleep in the cabana ( while nursing of course). I was doing my happy dance. I was able to put her down, and relax a bit next to the tent, soaking up the ocean views. Seriously, just that fact made me SOOOOO glad we have it! The second time we went to the beach was during the day, so it was very hot. However, the cabana did stay cool inside ( especially with the breeze), which is where we spent most of the time. AND Lexi fell asleep AGAIN! I am sorry for all the caps, but, as you know, any time she falls asleep outside of home is amazing for me.
As of right now, neither Amazon nor One Step Ahead seem to have the particular Cabana in stock, so I am linking to a different one, as well as the Infant Cabana (smaller size than the family cabana we have). Buy here: Family Cabana tent and Infant beach cabana. Scroll down for a giveaway of the Family Cabana Tent!
I’ve gone through 4 different types of clip-on fans before I found the one that works well. Some barely blew, others were not child safe, there were ones that couldn’t run on batteries and ones that had a huge brick for a battery. Finally through trial and error, I found these fans. Super cheap, both pricewise and qualitywise, BUT they work. The actually move air and clip onto most things and run on batteries. These are good for strollers ( though I wish the clip had a slightly better grip), car seats and especailly for that beach cabanaI mentioned. You clip on two of these puppies onto the flap, meant for cross breeze and you’ve got yourself some nice cool air.
3. BABY SAFE SUNBLOCK: Lavanila Baby Block
I am a huge fan of everything Lavanila. We use almost every single product of theirs. They are one of the safest companies I found with products that still work great. This sunblock has excellent sun protection (40 SPF), is chemical free, doesn’t leave your skin white and applies REALLY EASILY! It’s very hard to apply sunblock on a squirming baby, so a smooth application is a must. It has a rating of 2 (rather than 1) on Skin Deep, but only due to Lavanila adding vitamins to their products( tocopherol (Vitamin E), for some reason, has a bad rating in EWG database. It appears it’s most likely due to its effects if taken orally and I guess people suffering from eczema might have a reaction to vitamin E.)
I honestly can’t believe I found this! Let me explain. For months prior to Alexis turning half a year old and being ready to be out into the sun and ocean water, I had been searching for an alternative to the traditional swimsuits with sun protection. See, it’s awesome that they protect from the sun, BUT in order to accomplish that, they are HEAVILY sprayed with chemicals, laundered in chemicals or whatever else they do to them. At one point I had resigned to simply using the conventional rashguards with chemical UPF protection, because, you know what, exposure to the chemicals seems somehow better than a sunburn at this age (Why? One Step Ahead has a great article about importance of sun safety here). And then I found it! Tuga Swimwear is a line of rashguards and swimwear with sun protection that is completely chemical free. They are not cheap, nor would I expect them to be. However, their other brands , that are also chemicals free, can be bought for much less on Amazon. I ordered this set with a hat, a reusable swim diaper and then another set from MaxOut for when she’s a bit older, and another one (shirt and pants), because it was on sale. Another brand of theirs is Sunbusters that carries chemical free swimwear, as well.
I’ve gone through a few beach blankets until I found one that is made really well, is attractive, waterproof and with sufficient padding. I ordered this one from Zulily, but you can also find it on Amazon. It’s really high quality, folds into a convenient bag, very attractive and soft.
This one is a bit of a no-brainer. We use a cooler c/o California Innovations who rock at making good quality nice looking coolers.
Green Toys makes great toys that challenge gender biases (like a pink dump truck). Their Sand Play set comes in many colors and is made of recycled milk cartons, doesn’t contain BPA, PVC, phthalates or external coatings. Basically it’s as safe as it gets and it looks cool!
Sun Smarties Cabana Giveaway from One Step Ahead
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I was not compensated for this post. One Step Ahead provided me with a cabana sample to review. All opinions are 100% my own.