Unless you’re living in a particularly warm part of the world, or you can manage to squeeze in some vacation days to travel during the winter, summer is the time when you’ll be able to take your brand new baby to the beach. So, you best prepare yourself for some fun and sun and keeping your baby from eating sand, if she likes the beach at all. Some babies don’t.

The first thing you need to think about when taking your baby to the beach is adequate protection. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children younger than 6 months old are best kept from sun exposure, or protected by clothes with long sleeves and hats. The Academy also recommends that, if unavoidable, children under the age of 6 month should have as little sunscreen applied as possible, and only on smaller areas.

And while covering up is still the best protection from the sun, kids older than 6 months can have sunscreen applied. Use a lotion with at least SPF 15, and make sure it protects from both UVA and UVB rays. You also want to avoid direct sunlight during the peak hours – let your baby experience the sun early in the morning, or in the afternoon. The rest of the time, stick to the shade.

To keep your child occupied while at the beach, you should remember to bring beach-appropriate toys, and most importantly, an inflatable or plastic pool. You see, your baby can’t be in the water on its own, and while you may take her to the shallow water and carefully introduce her to the sea or the ocean, it’s much safer and practical to simply fill the pool with sea or ocean water and place it somewhere in the shade. That way your baby will have the whole day to play in the water, and you’ll have a much easier time looking after her, plus you’ll be able to minimize the sand-eating.

Other than that, just remember to enjoy your baby’s first encounter with the beach. Kids grow up really fast, and soon you’ll be running around trying to catch them and bring them into the shade during the peak sun hours. So enjoy being in the company of a tiny human being who’s perfectly content to play in a small plastic pool the whole day.