Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: There are two critical things to watch out for: the sun and the water. My husband and I took our babies to the beach early and often. By about six months, they were able to sit on the beach and play in the sand. To keep them safe in the sun, we set up a tent for them to play under, and we also put on lots of sunscreen and a hat. And it’s not like we left them sit in the sun for hours!
Also, my husband and I had started to take our babies to the pool when they were around four months old, and when they were around six months old, we took Mommy and Me classes. Still at the beach, we watched the kids every single second that we were near the water. We’d grab them anytime they started to crawl toward the water. We would let them sit and put their hands and feet in the ocean. We were careful not to hold the babies while we stood in the water, though. If a strong wave would have knocked us down, we could all go under the water.
When my son was seven months old, we went to Hawaii. It was a lot of fun—but tiring. My kids are both beach bums now, and I have so many great memories of being at the beach with them.
—Alanna Kramer, MD, a mom of an eight-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter and a pediatrician with St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, in Philadelphia, PA