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Parents and baby on the beach in the waterAny parent who loves the beach and lives close to one is probably wondering when they can finally take their baby for a swim in the sea. We live 10 minutes away from the ocean and I was thinking about that a lot.

Here are the main questions that were bothering me followed by the answers:

When can I take my baby to swim in the sea?

I have heard about many people who take their little babies to the pool, but not to the sea. The reason why a pool is safer for babies than the sea is because their kidneys can’t cope with salt water before they are 12 months old. There is a good chance they will swallow some water no matter how hard you try to keep their heads above it, so for “better be safe than sorry” reason we waited until Eric was over 12 months.

What should my baby be wearing?

A swim suit or any other piece of clothing made of UV protective fabric. I wasn’t sure why my one year old needs a swim suit at all, what’s wrong with using a regular bodysuit or something. The thing is that swim suits for little kids are UV protective and it is very important, especially in the water (it makes the UV radiation stronger). You can dress your kid in anything you like, but remember, the fabric needs to be UV-protective. Regular clothes don’t block the UV, it burns right through them (trust me, I know that from experience).

How long can my baby stay in the water?

Watch the lips. When they turn blue, get him out right away, change him and keep him warm until the lips turn back to their normal color.

How can I play with my baby in the water?

Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Hold your baby in your arms as you go into the water and say: “One, two, three – dipping in the sea!” When you say “sea”, bend your knees and dip the baby in the water.
  • Repeat that and after a couple of times your baby will be anticipating the dip. They love knowing what’s going to happen so that game is sure going to bring a smile on his face.

  • Hold your baby under the arms and swing from side to side like letting his legs splash.
  • Hold your baby so that he floats on water and move him, singing: “Row, row, row your boat”.
  • Caution: try to keep his head above the water, getting salt water in the eyes doesn’t feel nice (t.e if it happens, you’re likely to rush your screaming kid to the beach to have his face washed with drinking water).

    Stay tuned, I will be back with more. Meanwhile, I’d like to hear from you – how often do you take the kids to the beach? What do you like the most about it? Do you have more tips or more questions?