Summer is in full swing, which means it’s time to break out the beach gear and introduce the kids to the sand and shore. But, of course, traveling with a baby to the beach or any aggressively sunny place for that matter, means outfitting them in the proper sun protective clothing.
“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 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.” Here are three great options.
Qossi Floppy Hat
Made with quick-dry polyester fabric and giving your baby the floppy brim they need to stay out of the sun, this hat also comes with an adjustable strap so it can fit any baby’s head. It’s also rated UPF 50 — the measurement for how protective a fabric is from the sun — the highest standard out there.
Twinklebell Breathable Sun Hat
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.
Coolibar All Sport Hat
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.
Best Full-Body Swimsuits 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.
Vivo-biniya Full-Body Swimsuit
This adorable getup is rated UPF 50+ and even comes with separated pants and swim cap to maximize a baby’s comfort. It comes in multiple sizes for any kind of kid, and the pattern is bright and colorful.
UV Skinz Swim Shirt
Giving your baby full protection from the waist up, this UPF 50+ swim shirt is a splash of color on a hot day. It’s very breathable, and the material is resistant to both chlorine and salt water.
Coolibar Baby Beach One-Piece
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.
Coolibar Boy’s Hooded One-Piece
It’s the boy’s 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.
Best Sunscreen For Babies
Your baby need 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.
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen
Totally PABA-free and formulated with sensitive skin in mind, this SPF 30+ sunscreen gets our nod.
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen
Guaranteeing top protection at SPF 50+, this trusted sunscreen won’t irritate your kid’s skin and stays resistant to water for 80 minutes.
Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen
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.