Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Summer Holidays -

If you’re off to the beach with a baby or tod­dler, cre­at­ing a shady base camp will go a long way to en­sur­ing you all have an en­joy­able day.

A cool nest will be a wel­come re­treat where you can feed, change nap­pies and rest in be­tween your ad­ven­tures to the sea, sand dunes or the shore to hunt for shells. And, with a makeshift tent to call home, your baby or tod­dler is more likely to be con­tent to stay put for more than five min­utes.

A pop-up shel­ter to pro­tect your child from the sun’s rays is vi­tal. And it pays not to be fru­gal when choos­ing one – by spend­ing a lit­tle ex­tra you can buy a prod­uct with fab­ric that of­fers a sun-pro­tec­tion rat­ing of UPF50+. The bet­ter-made de­signs are also light­weight, as well as eas­ier to put up and take down with min­i­mal fuss. The younger your baby, the big­ger the tent needs to be, as she’ll need to spend more time in it, and small tents can get very hot. Before you erect it, think about where the sun is, and aim for the shel­ter’s shadow to fall across your beach base camp in or­der to cre­ate max­i­mum shade. If your lit­tle one is go­ing to nap or spend a lot of time in the shel­ter, at­tach a bat­tery-op­er­ated fan in­side to keep it cool.

A wind­break is also a good idea, as all ba­bies will be up­set by sand blow­ing into their eyes. Fix it next to your tent, and you can ef­fec­tively fence two sides of your base camp, mak­ing it eas­ier to keep an eye on your lit­tle one if she’s crawl­ing. And within this square of com­man­deered space, you’ll need a layer be­tween you and the sand. But for­get lay­ing a cou­ple of beach tow­els on the ground. An old fit­ted sheet is per­fect. With its elas­ti­cated edges lifted over a bag in each cor­ner, the raised sides make for a fairly sand-free area.

Lastly, con­sider tak­ing a tod­dler-sized pad­dling pool with you to the beach. A few buck­ets of sea­wa­ter tipped into a pad­dling pool makes for hours of fun.

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