Summer Favorites for Babies and Toddlers

summer babies

Ah, summer in the city! There is so much to do, and we love to be outside as much as possible. Here are a few things that we’ve found make the summer easier with a baby or toddler in tow.

Hats! Lots of hats are key… they always seem to be hiding when you need them, so it’s nice to have a few. The bonnets from Urban Baby Bonnet are so cute, reversible, and really cover up those little faces, plus they are handmade in the U.S! Serena used to have a sweet blue floral bonnet, and now more recently she’s been wearing a chambray version.

summer babiesWe also love the Hanna Andersson brim hats for the beach and splash pads, and the i Play flap hat is a playground favorite. Something with a tie under the chin is a must for wriggly toddlers, and we’ve started getting more into hats ourselves too! They are such an easy way to protect our face on sunny days. I especially love this one and this (packable!) one from Madewell.

Sun-protective Clothing. For little ones, a lightweight sun-protective blanket like this one is so helpful to through over the little legs of a baby when strolling around. Since the smallest babies aren’t pros yet at regulating their temperature and sweating, it is recommended not to use sunscreen until after 6 months, so sun-protective blankets and clothing makes things so much easier! I also love the rashguard shirts and full rash guard suits from Coolibar — I like not having to worry about Serena getting burned when she is playing in the water, and there is so much less exposed area.

Sunscreen and Sunblock. This one has been a little bit of a challenge for me! I am really fair-skinned and burn easily, and had typically been using Ombrelle sunscreen (I would bring it from Canada!) since it is fragrance-free and contains Mexoryl, a chemical sunscreen that I found worked well. Obviously it is so important not to get sunburned, however, since it is hard to know exactly how the chemical sunscreens affect developing bodies, my dermatologist suggests using physical sunblock (i.e. particles of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that are suspended in the cream, and lay on top of your skin to form a literal physical barrier) for nursing moms and kids through adolescence. Because this works as a barrier, you need to use a lot for it to be effective, be very careful in the water as many have very little water resistance, and I don’t really love the feeling of them on my skin. Of the ones I’ve tried, I like ThinkBaby and Suntegrity Body Unscented the best, but let me know if you have any other favorites!

summer babiesHit up the splash pad. There are lots of splash pads in the area, and many cities have installed them lately. It is so nice to cool off, and lifeguards aren’t needed the way they are for wading pools, so hopefully we will be seeing more and more of these! My favorite in Boston is the one by the Esplanade, since it is surfaced with the soft rubber material you see in newer playgrounds so doesn’t scrape little feet, and is right next door to a playground and the science museum. On hot days, I always like to have a little wet bag under the stroller packed with what we would need for a splash pad cool down: rashguard, sunscreen, and a small towel like this fouta.

Picnic Blanket. You never know where you’ll find a nice grassy spot to rest a while, and especially when babies are little not running in every direction, having a blanket to hang out and let them roll around on is key. The summer Serena was small, I always had this awesome L.L. Bean picnic blanket under the stroller — the fleece is so soft, and the bottom is water-resistant. I would fold it so the bottom wasn’t touching the top, but when it did get a bit dirty, I could just throw it into the washing machine.

Lots of Water. On hot days, everyone needs lots of water. I love my Kleen Kanteen, and I’ve been using the same one for years! For Serena, the miracle cup works so well (try this tether so it can’t be thrown out of the stroller!).

A Few Other Crazy Ideas. On a sweltering day last summer, I saw someone walk by with a small fan attached to their stroller — blowing a light breeze into the canopy to cool their napping baby! I never would have thought to do this, but it was a lifesaver on truly sweltering days during the stage when Serena really did sleep best in the stroller and we would sometimes be out in the hot midday sun. Such a good idea, and on those days it is great to have a small fan in the stroller basket. This is the one I have, and it is pretty basic but works well!

Some stroller canopies are so warm. I was glad to discover that Bugaboo makes a summer canopy for their strollers that has a more lightweight, breathable fabric, with mesh windows all around. It is the BEST, especially since now that Serena is much older, she wants to be looking around, and there is no way I would be able to have a canopy pulled down to protect her from the sun if it didn’t have windows so she could still see out. In the now-a-days rare case that she is napping in the stroller, I through a thin muslin blanket over the canopy so that light coming through the windows is less distracting.


We hope these ideas help you the way they’ve helped us! We are looking forward to a fun summer out and about with the little ones!

Image Credit: Laura Chassaigne

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