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8 Tips for Taking Your Baby to the River

Taking Baby to the River Tips

Nature has an awesome power that fascinates parents, children, and babies of all ages. Taking baby to the river for the first time is one of those opportunities to tune into that natural harmony.

The peace and tranquility of a rushing river and the serenity of a small crystal-clear stream both remind us that we are as vulnerable as newborn babes in the world. That being said, there are many tips for safety and convenience listed below that can make taking baby to the river pure joy.

1. Bring Life Jackets

No matter how safe your plan may be for taking baby to the river, accidents can and do happen. Recently, a father was merely walking along the shore of the ocean and wading his feet. A rogue wave sucked him and his young child into the ocean. And although lifeguards were nearby to assist, he could not keep the child above the water for long enough. They had both drowned in a matter of minutes because of a rip current.

While rogue waves are a far cry from a small stream, a human can drown in a tablespoon of water. Since babies can’t swim, even though they have a natural desire to go through the motions when thrown into the water, you want to ensure that they are safe.

Of course, the larger the river and the deeper the water, the more serious the concern becomes. Nevertheless, you can never regret being too safe. And investing in life jackets will also help you prepare for that boating trip or ocean vacation. You may even decide to rent a boat when you are at the river.

Life jackets should never be an excuse to act negligently, however. Just because baby is in a life jacket doesn’t mean that he can’t be injured on rocks or carried away by a strong current. A life jacket is just one of those lifelines for those unexpected dangers.

2. Pack Swim Diapers

Even if you aren’t planning on swimming in the river, you never know how your plans may change when you get there. You may find a peaceful zone where it is safe to wade in the river. You may decide to take a boat down the river that can fill up with some water.

If you pack swim diapers, you can rest assured that your immediate plans won’t be stifled by a failure to plan for the possibility in advance. You can buy disposable swim diapers that don’t look much different than ordinary diapers at many grocery and department stores.

3. Buy Baby Swim Shoes

Your baby has very tender feet. When taking baby to the river, you should always prepare by bringing swim shoes. This will allow you to explore the river together without worries of sharp rocks or even twigs hurting your baby’s fragile feet.

Baby swim shoes are affordable and typically slip right over their feet. You can, likewise, purchase a pair of sandals or aqua socks. If you find some soft sand or mud, you may want to take the shoes off and let your baby immerse themselves in the textures.

The experience of going to the river is to familiarize your baby with different elements of nature. Don’t be afraid to let them play in some river mud or to touch some of the plants in the area. As long as you identify them and know that they aren’t poison ivy, poison oak, or poisonous berries, you should be fine.

4. Overpack

When you are taking baby to the river, it is better to have too much on hand than too little. You can divvy up your carry-ons into two separate bags if double diapers and double formula are too much to carry to the riverside. Try leaving one bag in your car or SUV.

You should also bring a cooler and plenty of snacks. Taking baby to the river means that you are probably going to a remote area. For this reason, you will want to overpack and also carry a First Aid Kit in case your baby gets any little cuts or bruises.

Bring plenty of beach towels and also a warm emergency blanket to quickly heat up your baby if you see her shivering. You should also bring a flashlight and a compass in case you get caught in the woods longer than expected. Staying close to major trails and avoiding long treks deep into the woods will also make the first experience easier.

5. Travel in Groups

Taking baby to the river should not be a private event for mom and baby to take together. Because there is always the chance of mommy slipping or something happening, taking baby to the river should always be a group excursion. There should be at least two adults present to ensure that someone competent is available as a backup if mommy faints, falls, or goes overboard on a boating trip.

This will also make it easier to carry all the equipment that you’ll need to get comfortable by the river. You might want to bring some foldable camping chairs, a hammock, or an off-road stroller that is fitted with suspension and ATV wheels.

There are many different all-terrain strollers that generally feature three rugged and oversized pneumatic tires that allow the stroller to conquer diverse terrain. You can check out the consumer reports and compare them in person to decide which stroller is right for you.

6. Know How to Swim

If you are taking baby to the river, you’d better know how to swim. Even if you plan on just wading in the river, there are always situations when someone may need rescue. This is especially the case if you have older kids who are more adventurous.

Most people in the United States are now required to learn basic swimming skills in school. If you can swim well enough to keep yourself from drowning, that is sufficient to save yourself. However, if you want to know how to save others, you should practice the strokes to swim fast.

You might also want to familiarize baby with swimming in an ordinary swimming pool before taking baby to the river. A swimming pool is a static environment that removes a lot of the iffy factors that occur in nature. In addition, the water temperature of a pool can be controlled to make baby comfortable with large bodies of water.

This would also be a great way to get baby accustomed to wearing a life jacket and exploring the water before you take baby to the river. It is recommended, however, that you try to find a saltwater pool in your region instead of one that is treated with chlorine. The less chemicals that your baby is exposed to at a young age, the better.

The chlorine in swimming pools can dry and irritate sensitive baby skin. It will also sting their eyes and can create a negative association with water and swimming. Floating along with baby in a warm baby pool at your local YMCA, an upscale hotel, or at your own home can be the perfect pretext to the river adventure.

7. Let Baby Explore

When you take baby to the river, you have to let them explore everything in nature. While the river should be the central focal point and goal of the adventure, there are many opportunities to familiarize your baby with nature before you get there.

Letting baby feel pine cones, acorns, tree bark, leaves, and smooth river rocks are all part of the experience. Since babies are not cognizant about what they are feeling and unable to articulate it into words or ideas, they function at a more sensory level.

The fragrant smell of cedar firewood, the hickory of a barbeque, and the fragrance of flowers can all be a treat to your baby’s senses. And they will also enjoy the sounds of the rushing waters, the birds chirping, and other critters.

8. Setting the Date

Choosing the best day to go on your outdoor adventure is one of the most important elements of planning the trip. Taking baby to the river on a rainy and overcast day will not be much of an adventure. You will most likely find yourself heading home without a lot of exploring.

If you take baby to the river on a warm summer day at temperatures of about 80 degrees or more, you can immerse in the water without feeling overbearing chills when you exit the river. You can take your trip at any time during the daylight if there is lots of shade near the river.

Staying out of direct sunlight for a prolonged period of time should be enough sun protection without the need for sunscreen or other gear. But it is best to arrive at the river at about 4 pm to avoid the risks of high UV radiation.


Taking baby to the river is the ideal time for you to bond with them. The security of their parents during this first engagement can help them to feel relaxed and comfortable in the water. If they are exposed to swimming in pools before they reach the river, this will also help to remove their hesitation. And by following these tips, your adventure is sure to be the first of many.

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