Hello, sunshine! While sunshine brings the addition of fun days at the beach or the park, the harmful consequences of the sun can include painful sunburns and even an increased risk of skin cancer with prolonged exposure to UV (ultra- violet) radiation. Fortunately, UV protective clothing can help keep your little one safe in the sun.
In this article:
- What is UV protective clothing?
- Coolibar Baby Fin Hooded One-Piece Swim Suite UPF 50+
- NoZone Sun Protective Fiji Baby Swimsuit
- Swimzip Sunsuit Long Sleeve Romper Swimsuit
- RuffleButts Baby/Toddler Girls UPF 50+ Sun Protection Long Sleeve One Piece Swimsuit with Zipper
- Babiators Navigator UV Protection Sunglasses
- Roshambo Baby Flexible Polarized Baby Shades (Baby Size)
- Green Sprouts Brim Sun Protection Hat
- JAN & JUL Original GRO-with-Me Adjustable Cotton Sun-Hats 50+ UPF
- Baby Banz Baby Girls’ Reversible Sun Hat
- Coolibar UPF 50+ Baby Batibou Sun Blanket
What is UV Protective Clothing?
If you’re anything like me, you may wondering what exactly UV protective clothing is. In my mind, don’t clothes protect you from the sun enough as it? Well, as it turns out, not exactly. Clothes do provide some physical barrier from the sun, but the harmful rays of the sun can still penetrate through your clothing–especially in kids.
As the Skin Cancer Foundation explains, UV protective clothing is clothing that has protection from the sun’s rays built into the fabric. This is called an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF), which details how much UV radiation (both UVB and UVA) a fabric lets in to your skin. Something with a UPF of 50 will block 98% percent of the rays and allow only 2% of the sun’s rays to penetrate. UPF is different than SPF; SPF is based on the amount of time it takes for your skin to be affected by the sun. For instance, an SPF of 20 will protect your skin 20 times longer than your natural skin barriers.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommendations that you always look for a UPF of at least 30. 30-49 will give you good protection, but 50 is considered to be excellent protection. And when it comes to kids, excellent is always best.
Clearly, none of us want any harmful sun rays reaching our children’s skin, so UV sun protection clothing for babies offers new moms everywhere peace of mind. UV clothing has gained popularity as a safe and easy way to protect your baby from the sun’s harmful rays.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite sun protective gear like bathing suits, sun suits, hats, UV glasses, and other essentials that will protect your baby through infancy and beyond!
Our Top 10 of the Best Sun Protection Clothing for Babies
These suits are available in a variety of fun patterns and sizes. We love that the hood adds head and neck protection, and its zippered front makes it easy to take on and off. The snap bottom is another added convenience making diaper changes quick and easy. Overall, we love this suit and recommend it for peace of mind during those extended days in the sun.
However, they currently only accommodate babies 6 months and older, so keep that in mind as you’re shopping for any younger babies.
Our favorite feature of this adorable swimsuit? The double zipper system—the upper zipper makes it easy to take on and off, while the lower zipper makes diaper changes on-the-go a breeze.
This lightweight suit is also easy to care for: just pop it in the wash on warm and tumble dry on low. We think NoZone is superior when it comes to UV sun protection clothing for babies, our only note is that the swimsuit is only 3/4 length (sleeves), so it doesn’t offer complete body coverage.
We love that these swimzip rompers have a zipper that extends all the way down the front, making dressing and diaper changes easy. This sunsuit is available in sizes 0-6 months all the way to 3T/4T so it is a great option for toddlers as well.
Most of the swimzip swimsuits are true to size, but the 0-6-month option won’t last long if your baby is a fast grower, so we recommend going up a size for longer wear.
We also love that the rear zipper makes dressing your baby a breeze, while the nickel-free snaps at the bottom allow for easy diaper changes. Care for this swimsuit is easy as well: simply hand wash and lay flat to dry. In addition to promising a quality product, Ruffle Butts swimsuits come with a 100% Happiness Guarantee, so if you’re not satisfied for any reason their customer service team will make it right!
While we appreciate that this swimsuit has snaps at the bottom for easy diaper changes, a few reviews did mention that the buttons came off after some wear-and-tear, so you may want to keep that in mind if you plan on hitting the sand pretty hard this summer.
Since these Babiators Sunglasses are available in newborn sizes, they undergo rigorous testing to ensure they are baby safe. Additionally, these sunglasses come with a one-year guarantee, so if your little one loses or breaks them within that year, Babiators will replace them free of charge (you just cover shipping).
This size is meant for toddler and babies and it’s definitely worth registering your glasses because little hands can lead to little accident, just sayin`.
Designed with babies in mind, they use flexible (and durable) material that is soft to the touch and comfortable for tiny faces. We love all the fun color options and accessories available, but it is the overall quality that sets these sunglasses for babies above the rest.
Additionally, Roshambo Baby Shades are “prescription ready,” so if your little one requires prescription lenses for vision, their team of licensed opticians can help. They even offer “try on kits” that allow you to test out frames on your baby at home so you can find the perfect pair.
This lightweight hat is UPF 50+ and has an adjustable toggle, helping to provide secure protection from the sun all day. We adore all the sweet prints, and they’re versatile enough to be worn all year round.
Many reviewers also spoke to how well this hat holds its shape, which is helpful because let’s face it: it’s probably going to end up crammed in the diaper or beach bag anyways, right?
Jan & Jul made safety a priority when designing this hat, with a break-away clip on the chin strap to minimize any risk of choking. Another standout feature we love is the “Gro-With-Me” drawstring head adjustment which guarantees a perfectly snug fit, making it a great option for babies of any age.
This sun hat is also conveniently available in sizes newborn all the way through 12 years old: S: 0-6m (head up to 45 cm/17.7 inches); M: 6-24m (head up to 50 cm/19.7 inches); L: 2-5Y (head up to 53 cm /20.9inches); XL: 5-12Y (head up to 56 cm/22 inches).
In addition to UVP 50+ sun hats, Baby Banz offers a full line of innovative “care wear”, including swimsuits and UV blocking sunglasses. We love the laid-back look of this functional line and recommend it to moms everywhere.
While the Velcro straps are helpful, keep in mind that this hat doesn’t offer a strap version, so if you have a little one who loves to rip their hat off, it’s probably coming off. (And yes, I do know this from personal experience.) You win some, you lose some, especially when it comes to baby sun hats.
Sure, you can just throw a towel over your baby at the beach when they need some downtime from fun in the sun, but not all beach towels offer UV protection. So while they are snoozing on your lap, those rays could still be penetrating their precious skin. Instead, reach for this handy beach blanket that offers lightweight comfort and UV protection.
This blanket can be used daily, and is ideal for the pool, park, or backyard. Its machine-washable but be cautious, as it is not chlorine or salt water resistant. Despite that, we love all the different patterns and for under $30, it’s worth snagging more than just one!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does my baby need to wear sunscreen and UV protective clothing?
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends keeping sunscreen at a minimum for babies under 6 months because they have such sensitive skin. Alternatively, they suggest keeping your baby in the shade whenever possible and when they are in the sun, to dress them in UV protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses. Start using sunscreen once your baby is 6 months, and it’s advisable to still use UV protective clothing for added safety.
What’s the difference between UPF and SPF?
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation , Ultraviolet Protection Factor, or UPF, is used to measure how much UV radiation fabrics or clothing can shield. For example: a rating of +50 UPF means that only 1/50 of UV rays can penetrate, offering your baby 98% UV protection. SPF or Sun Protection Factor pertains to the amount of time it will take for skin that is exposed to UV rays to redden (or burn), essentially measuring how long sunscreen will offer UV protection.
Does my baby need to wear protective clothing in the water?
Sun protective clothing is recommended, especially if your baby will be in the sun or water for extended periods of time. We recommend using it in collaboration with sunscreen if your baby is over 6 months, but unlike sunscreen, the UPF in clothing will not wash off, which makes it ideal for days at the beach or pool.
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Reviewed by Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN…