My parents were anxiously waiting for the day they could take me to the beach for the first time. As soon as I turned two, they packed the car and brought me along to the family beach house, and I spent the week in the waves with my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents encouraging me to explore. From that moment on, I was a total beach bum, and you still have to drag me away from the ocean when I pay it a visit.

You’re probably just as eager to take your little one to the beach. In addition to the fun in the sun you’ll have with your partner, your baby will get the chance to explore and feel things he has never even seen before. Before you pack the beach bag, you should first understand how old your baby needs to be to visit the beach for the first time.

Experts agree that babies should be 6 months old before they go to the beach for the first time. While babies that reach the age of two months have a strong enough immune system to fight the infections caused by bacteria in the ocean water, they don’t have the ability to regulate their body temperatures until they turn six months old. By dunking him or her in the chilly ocean before six months, you might cause discomfort.

When you bring your baby to the beach, there are obviously a few precautions you need to take. Make sure your baby is wearing a safe and adequate amount of sunscreen, and avoid water that is too cold. If you want to make sure your baby can handle the feeling of the water before you spend money on a beach vacation, take him or her to your local pool. The temperature will be regulated and the chlorine will kill any germs.

As soon as you and your baby are ready, take him or her to the ocean. It’s a great learning experience. Additionally, salt water can be therapeutic to an infant’s sensitive skin. Better yet, exposure to the germs and bacteria in the ocean will help your infant build immunity that he or she wouldn’t otherwise achieve. If you hit the beach for your next vacation, make sure you’re equipped with sunscreen that has been approved for sensitive skin and even a tent to protect your baby from the harsh sun.

Source: Steve Turner: Environmental Exposures and Respiratory Outcomes in Children. Paediatric Respiratory Reviews Volume 13 Issue 4 pp. 252-257 December 2012

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