Should children wear anything on the beach?

Update: See a recent piece from The New York Times on this very subject here and read what Babyccino blogger Michela and her commenters have to say, here.

YET again this blog is taking its inspiration from Joanne Mallon at Parentdish.

Joanne asked ‘Do you let your children go nude?

It made me think – especially when it comes to at the seaside.

My daughters are 10. For them, of course, it’s out of the question.

But when I think back to when they were tiny, their little bottoms could be seen sometimes, quite rarely if I’m honest, waggling away in the sand or sea.

My mum hated this. She couldn’t wait to tell me: “Get some clothes on them. Quick!” 

The following quote from a ‘child development expert’  in a Babyworld feature from 2006, which debated the hot topic (see what I did there?) of itsy bitsy bikinis for little girls also gave me food for thought:

(It’s quoting Dr Janine Spencer from Brunel University.)

There have always been people who try to sexualise children but it is our job to protect them,” she said. “And this doesn’t just mean avoiding sexy swimwear. I would also advise against letting your child run around naked on a crowded beach. While this is a completely innocent act, and innocently done, you just can’t tell who’s watching them.”

So, what do you think, should our children be covering up these days because we don’t know who’s watching or is that a step too far?

If they love running around on the beach in the nuddy should they be allowed?

Or is it, perhaps, inconsiderate to other beach lovers? What if they are embarrassed or feel uncomfortable at the display of a child’s flesh?

Go on, tell us what you think in the comments!

Thanks to Nixdminx for highlighting our dicussion in a canter through the blogosphere at the latest carnival of parenting posts.