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5 tips for our babies and beaches

5 tips for our babies and beaches

I’m a water baby, always have been. I did swim squad, I learned to sail, and when I was old enough, I learned to scuba dive too. Even growing up in the UK, I loved to be near the ocean

I am Jessica Page, an ocean-loving mum-of-one, based in Bondi Beach, Australia and founder of Little Fishy Swim

The ocean is my happy place, and now I’m bringing up my daughter in Australia, there’s nothing better I like to do than spend a day playing with her in the sand, in the waves, and watching her slowly but surely fall under the ocean’s spell too.

But there’s one thing I’ve noticed about visiting the beach, especially when you’ve got kids in tow. We may get a lot of pleasure out of visiting the ocean, but the ocean sure isn’t getting much love from us land-lubbers in return.

In between the cheap plastic toys, the snack wrappers, the chemical-laden sun lotions and so much more, the ocean is suffering. You can see the film of sunscreen floating atop the waves. Almost every beach up and down our glorious coastline seems to boast scraps of plastic where there should be shells, and study after study shows our incredible sea life, like our native green turtle, ingesting plastic at a frightening rate. It was an observation that not only sparked the idea for my fledgling business, but a total review of my beach-side behaviour.

Perhaps, like me, you’re one of the estimated 82% of Australians who are concerned about marine plastic pollution, making it the number one environmental issue keeping us up at night. If so, read on.

Going green next to the big blue really isn’t that hard to do: with some easy swaps and beach-side rituals, you and the ocean will be back in harmony in no time.

  1. Pick up your rubbish.... and three bits extra! I'm sure you're all over part one.... leaving even just a chip bag, or plastic bottle can have way worse an effect on marine life than we think. Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, and they do not make for a healthy, nutritious lunch, and much worse can result in serious damage. But did you think about part two?

    My business, Little Fishy Swim, is proud to support an incredible Aussie initiative called Take 3 for the Sea. The idea is so simple... each time you visit the beach, pick up 3 bits of rubbish you see, even if they're just little scraps of plastic. Get the kids involved, make it a race, make it a game or make it a competition as to who can get the most... you'd be amazed at the impact if everyone simple took 3 for the sea!

  2. Go easy on the cheap, plastic toys. Digging, scooping, making sand castles... it's half of the fun! And since so many toys get broken, lost or 'borrowed' by other beach goers, it can be tempting to go cheap, break and buy often. But it's definitely a false economy... especially when it comes to the sea!

    Consider buying beach toys made from more eco-friendly materials like silicone, or even recycled plastic (that helps clear plastic pollution by giving it a second life). They may cost a bit more but they're often made to be better quality and durability to compensate for the higher cost of materials and RRP. Did you know there are more microplastics in the ocean than there are stars in the milky way? Each time our cheap plastic toys break or crack, even just a little, we just add to the number.


  3. Use reef-safe sunscreen. The beach, kids and sunscreen go hand in hand like sprinkles and ice cream, and you'd be right to be applying it liberally and often! Protecting young skin definitely comes first.

    It is estimated that 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in the oceans each year. And this doesn't just come from the sunscreen washed directly off in the sea. The sunscreen that you rinse down the drain when you shower can eventually find its way into the ocean.

    In addition, aerosol sprays can spread sunscreen particles across the sand. When the tide comes in, these chemicals can get washed out to sea. Without getting into too much of a science lesson, there are physical (mineral) sunscreens and chemical sunscreens.

    It's chemical sunscreens that are most often a problem, as some of the main chemicals used in sunscreens are harmful to corals and other marine life. The worst culprit is Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3), but many of these chemicals can lead to coral bleaching, and cause other damage and abnormalities to our reef eco-systems.

    But never fear, reef-safe sunscreen is a thing, and many of them are certified safe for kids aged 6 months +. Some of the Aussie brands we love include Little Urchin, Sun Butter, and Sun Bum. Or look for sun screens that are 'reef-friendly' or have the 'reef-safe' symbol on them.


  4. Be gentle with the ocean's little treasures exploring rock pools, picking up shells and collecting crabs has got to be one of the most wonderful innocent childhood pleasures of the beach. But as most parents can attest, clumsy little fingers are not always the most gentle!

    The coastal eco-systems are really delicate, and there's really no way of telling if that anenome you poke, or hermit crab you move, is going to be OK. Encouraging your little ones to look, but not touch, is always the best rule of thumb. Remember, the only thing you should leave on the beach are your footprints, and the only things that should leave the beach with you are those that you came with!

  5. Shop ocean-friendly brands. In Australia we have a special relationship with the ocean, so many of us live right beside it and enjoying a day out at the beach seems to be the nation's chief national past-time! So thankfully there are so many ocean-loving brands that allow us to have a positive ocean impact, creating incredible ocean-friendly alternatives to the mass-produced and often environmentally dubious options you find on the high street.

Our aim is to Little Fishy Swim inspire the next generation of little ocean warriors, and rid the ocean of pollution, one plastic bottle at a time. Our adorable, ocean-inspired swimwear is made from recycled plastic bottles, which would otherwise pollute our beautiful oceans, and 10% of profits are returned to Australian ocean clean-up charities.

Whether you shop with us, or not, please do seek out other ocean-friendly brands that are making things that are reef-safe, made of recycled ocean plastic, give a % back to the oceans and more. When you shop green and shop small, not only does a small business owner somewhere do a happy dance, but your favourite ocean pals will thank you too. 

My ocean goals for Little Fishy

With the bold aim of removing 1 million plastic bottles from the ocean by 2025, my adorable ocean-inspired swimwear are made out of recycled plastic bottles and 10% of profits are returned to Australian ocean clean-up charities.

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