Ben is playing with a little green digger in the sand. His little sister Lea uses a spade to deposit some sand in her yellow bucket – and then goes running off, with her brother close behind.
But their father remains implacably relaxed as he watches them from his deckchair. After all, he’s at Germany’s first “baby beach”. What can go wrong?
Located in the North Sea beach resort of Butjadingen in Germany, this 250sq m man-made beach has been created from extra-fine, hypo-allergenic sand. Canopies have been erected to provide shade, and panes of safety glass keep the little cherubs sheltered from the wind – and stop them from running off.
There are no shards of glass, bottle tops or sharp-edged shells in the sand for parents to worry about.
“The children can’t get out – and more importantly, dogs can’t get in,” says Christel Frommberger, who is visiting the baby beach with her granddaughter Dora.
A few meters away, Ben and Lea have returned and their father, Christian Erlei, is playing with them in the sand. “It’s great that it is so sheltered here,” he says. “Ben always complains that he has sand in his eyes.”
A beach exclusively for babies may seem a bit excessive, but many parents find the idea intuitive and appealing. After all, babies can go to yoga, massage, music lessons or swimming lessons, and sip “babycinos” in chic cafes. There are concerts and even plays for babies. So why not a beach?
Of course, babies don’t really need their own beach to be happy. But according to paediatrician and writer Herbert Renz-Polster, the real benefit of the baby beach could be for the parents.
“Small children need happy and relaxed parents,” he says. And being able to relax on the beach without worrying about their child disappearing from view will certainly not do any harm to their stress levels. – dpa/Irena Guettel
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