If you’re taking your baby to the beach, your baby needs sun protection. And it needs to become so routine, you don’t ever need a reminder to put on sunscreen or dress your child in sun protective clothing rated UPF 50.
“Protecting a baby from the sun should be done prior to any sun exposure so that it becomes part of the routine, just like changing a wet diaper before bed,” says pediatrician Dr. Andy Bernstein, MD.
“The most immediate consequence of not protecting a baby against the sun is painful sunburn,” says Bernstein, “but also, premature aging of the skin and skin cancer risk are affected by sun exposure over the lifetime — so even sun exposure to little ones increases their risk of cancer or other skin changes.”
In addition to sunscreen, two of the best ways to keep your baby safe in the sun are hats and full-body swimsuits. With help from Dr. Bernstein, here are the best pediatrician-approved sun hats, sun protective clothing, and sunscreens for babies.
The Best Sun Protective Clothing For Babies
Putting your baby into a full-body swimsuit, while they might not love it initially (wah!), is a great way to protect your kid’s skin. “Infant swimsuits that offer sun protection will have an UPF rating, so make sure your baby swimsuits have one,” says Bernstein. “More protection with long sleeves and even pants can be very helpful.” Indeed, when shopping for a full-body swimsuit, you’ll want as much coverage as possible. Here are our picks.
This hooded baby sunsuit is made from a soft bamboo knit blend, and provides UPF 50 protection.
The attached hood on this swimsuit provides extra protection from the sun, and snap closures in the leg area simplify both diaper changes and clothing changes.
This iPlay sunsuit is made from nylon and lycra, and dries fast. The zipper simplifies diaper changes.
Your baby can move freely and easily in this sunsuit, which of course provides UPF50 sun protection.
We like the versatility of this two-piece set, which includes a rash guard and a swim diaper.
iPlay’s two-piece set provides UPF 50 sun protection, and we particularly like the washable swim diaper, which you can use instead of disposable options.
No more fighting your kid as you try and put on sunblock. This suit offers full full-coverage and even protects the neck.
Giving your kid full protection, this UPF 50+ swim suit is a splash of color on a hot day. It’s very breathable, and the material is resistant to both chlorine and salt water.
This suit is made from stretchy and smooth fabric, making it ideal for water play. The fabric is chlorine- and saltwater-resistant. And the sun suit has a snap-close bottom for on-the-go diaper access and front snap neckline for easy removal.
Full-body protection in neat (and cute) package, this UPF 50+-rated has a snap bottom for easy access to a diaper and a front snap neckline to make it easier to get on and take off.
No more fights over wearing hats in the sun. This hooded sun suit solves the problem for you.
It’s another version of the above—with the extra bonus of a hood for when the sun is just too hot and your boy need some extra protection for their head.
This three-piece set blocks 98 percent of the sun's rays, so your kiddo can splash around for hours.
This UPF 50 ensemble is insanely cute, and you can choose from a variety of prints. But this doesn’t cover the legs, so make sure you apply plenty of sunscreen.
While not a full bodysuit, these genius leg protectors are easy to get on and pull off, and protect those baby legs from the sun.
These UPF 50 leg protectors are meant for babies and young toddlers. Your child can wear them with any pair of shorts, or a swimsuit, for additional protection from the sun.
We love that this UPF 50 bodysuit has a tagless neck, meaning less irritation for baby skin.
The founder of SwimZip was diagnosed with skin cancer, so she knows a few things about sun protection. Now, she’s created a fairly ingenious bodysuit with a full zipper down the front, making it extra easy to take off and put on. There’s a lot of great patterns at your disposal.
Snaps make diaper changes super-quick and easy, and the sweet design will make for memorable beach photos. This UPF swimsuit is a win-win.
These one-piece swimsuits offer full UPF 50 coverage, and there are ruffles on the butt. Plus, so many patterns to choose from. This suit is great for kids who like to have their legs free to splash around in the water.
Tuga UPF clothing is made without any sunscreen chemicals in the fabric, so it's great for kids with sensitive skin. Or parents who are trying to avoid reef-harming chemicals.
This swimsuit is UPF 50, has a front zipper, and plastic snaps for diaper changes. It also has flat lock stitching and four-way stretch. We particularly like the no-chemicals bit, though.
Best Sun Protective Blankets for Babies
This handy blanket is made of cotton/viscose from bamboo/spandex and features UPF 50+ protection against 98 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
Everyone needs a convenient blanket you can throw around your tot to protect them from the sun, and this is your blanket. It’s deceptively lightweight, it blocks 98 percent of harmful rays and it comes in a variety of colors.
The Best Sun Protective Hats For Babies
Protecting your baby’s head and eyes from the sun is the first step in making sure they’re ready for a splash. According to Bernstein, there’s really only one thing to look for in a protective hat for the baby: “It should have as wide a brim as the baby can tolerate,” he says, “covering not just the face like a baseball cap, but hopefully protection all around the head to protect the ears and the neck too.”
The iPlay brand is a leader in sun-safety clothing. This baby sun hat is made from breathable material that keeps him or her cool and comfortable, and we particularly love the foam brim that stay out of your baby's eyes when its wet.
This sun hat protects your baby’s head, neck, and eyes while they’re playing in the water. It dries quickly, and it has an elasticized back that grows with your child.
Not only is this hat UPF 50 protective, but it also has a fully adjustable head drawstring that will allow you to size up so you can use the hat for multiple seasons.
The pattern screams summer, and the fully adjustable chin-strap makes sure that the hat stays put with easy toggle adjustment and breakaway safety clip which can be clipped back in.
The bucket shape of this hat offers pretty wide sun protection; it's also UPF 50.
This full-brim hat, also UPF 50 protective, adds a little color and pattern to your baby’s sun-bathing wardrobe, with fun options like blue, pink, and animal print. It’ll cover everything from head to shoulders.
If you’re not a fan of the big-brim look, or just want to give the back of your kid’s neck a little extra coverage, this UPF 50 hat folds down to protect it all.
A moisture-wicking fabric on the inside helps keep your baby’s head comfortable and dry the entire trip.
This sun hat is lightweight, and the fun design just make your kid more willing to wear it.
The Speedo sun bucket hat has an adjustable safety chin strap to keep it in place on your baby’s head and of course, provides UPF 50 protection.
This sun hat has a flexible bill that protects the entire face, and a lightweight neck flap to keep the sun away from the ears and neck.
This sun hat has a built-in sweatband, and an elastic band. The flap is not removable, but we love how flexible and lightweight it is.
Best Sunglasses for Babies and Kids
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, kids 10 and younger can damage their eyes from exposure to UV rays. Thus, sunglasses are good choice. Make sure the ones you choose block 99-100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays, per the Skin Cancer Foundation, and that they use playground-proof lenses. This means the lenses are scratch-proof and won’t pop out of their frames when your kids are playing. Wraparound styles are great, for maximum protection.
We love Babiators, which are seemingly unbreakable and provide 100 percent protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Not only do these kiddie aviators protect eyes from UVA and UVB rays, but the frame is made of rubber, and the lenses are shatter- and impact-resistant. You can choose from a ton of different colors and styles.
These sunglasses have soft, adjustable straps, meaning the shades stay put. The sunglasses block out 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
These kids’ sunglasses are essentially shatter-proof. The frames are flexible and have adjustable straps. Plus, they’re wraparound, for the most eye protection you can get. Choose whatever color combo your kid likes best.
These sunglasses have flexible and durable TPEE frames that can survive a beating at the beach.
The lenses on these sunglasses provide 100 percent UVA and UVB sun protection. The strap keeps the sunglasses in place, and the lenses are polarized and shatter-resistant
Best Sunscreen For Babies
Your baby needs sunscreen just as much as you do. Even with all the right hats and swimsuits, protecting your kid with sunscreen is totally essential. Just keep a few things in mind: “Infant sunscreen should always be labeled as PABA-free,” says Bernstain, referring to Para-aminobenzoic acid, which can have all sorts of negative side effects, from rashes to liver damage. “If your baby has sensitive skin, you should look for a sunscreen which has zinc or titanium as the only active ingredients.” Check out our picks below.
This SPF 50 sunscreen is made without PABA, phthalates, fragrances, sulphates, parabens, dyes, alcohol and oxybenzone.
This sunscreen is made without PABA, is mineral-based, and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
This sunscreen offer SPF50 protection, and is waster resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Made without PABA, fragrances, or other harmful particles, and fortified with SPF 50+, this baby-approved sunscreen is all your kid needs to have a safe blast in the sun.
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