The Best UV Protective Swimwear & Clothing For Babies & Kids

Whether you’re at the beach, the splash park or the pool, UV protective swimwear and clothing is the best way to protect your child’s skin from intense sun. From swimwear to clothing to hats to beach tents and umbrellas, we’ve rounded up the best UPF50+ protective gear for kids and babies. Say no to sunburns and let your kids splash away while wearing UV protective swimwear and clothing!

UV Protective Clothing and Accessories For Kids

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Whether you’re at the beach, the splashpad or the pool, sunscreen alone may not be enough to protect your child’s skin from a sunburn. Applying sunscreen to a kid who’s caked with sand or dripping wet can be a nightmare.

That’s where UV protective clothing comes in handy. UV protective clothing is the best way to ensure that your child is protected from the sun, especially children that are swimming or splashing in the water for long periods of time and not reapplying sunscreen.

WILL A REGULAR COTTON T-SHIRT OFFER PROTECTION?

A run-of-the-mill T-shirt has a UPF of 5, so 20% of UVA and UVB rays are getting through the fabric. While any coverage is better than none, UV protective clothing is going to be more effective at blocking harmful UV rays than a thin t-shirt or poorly applied sunscreen.

WHAT IS UPF?

UPF is a measure of sun protection for fabric, just as SPF is a measure of protection for sunscreen (although SPF only measures UVB rays). UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) is the amount of both UVA and UVB radiation that penetrates fabric and reaches the skin.

In order for fabric to qualify for The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal, it must have a UPF of 30 or greater. Fabric with a UPF of 30 to 49 offers very good protection, while UPF 50+ offers excellent protection.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN UPF CLOTHING

  • Fabric weave– Look for fabric with a very tight weave. Fabric construction affects the amount of sun protection an item of clothing offers. Keep in mind that although a pair of denim jeans has a tight weave and offers good sun protection, that’s not the type of fabric any of us would wear to the beach. Synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester, bamboo viscose and tightly woven hemp fabric are all densely woven, yet are lightweight and ideal for the beach.
  • Color– Darker or brighter colors absorb more UV rays and offer more sun protection than lighter ones.
  • Coverage– Purchase UPF clothing for areas of the body that get exposed to the most sun, like the shoulders, the back and the head/neck area. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something comfortable that your child will actually wear!

UPF CLOTHING BRANDS THAT IMPRESSED ME

  • CoolibarCoolibar uses a combination of tight weave, color, weight and additions of the best mineral ingredients found in sunscreens, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide infused at the fiber or fabric level. Even with multiple washings and exposure to sweat, chlorine and salt – the sun protection never washes out.
  • UV Skinz– The founder, a mother of three boys, lost her 32-year-old husband to skin cancer. She founded UV Skinz to “to help families have fun outdoors and still have peace-of-mind from the sun’s damaging rays“. UV Skinz UPF50+ clothing gets UV protection from the tight weave of fabric, and is not coated with any chemicals.
  • Primary– The material Primary uses is UPF50+, and it is made of 80% recycled nylon and 20% spandex. The fabric is  OEKO-Tex Standard 100 certified, meaning the fabric has been tested and is free of over 300 chemicals and known irritants. It’s a higher standard that is better for skin, better for the environment, and better for parents’ peace of mind.
UV Protective Clothing For Babies

UPF CLOTHING FOR BABIES

Should you slather your baby in sunscreen? The FDA recommends against it, since infants are at greater risk of sunscreen side effects, such as a rash. The FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend keeping newborns and babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight.

Dress your infant in a UV protective swimsuit and hat if you plan to be at the beach or splash park, and make sure your infant stays in the shade as much as possible. At the end of the post, I’ve got a recommendation for a UPF50+ baby tent and large shade umbrella. Check out my post on mineral sunscreen for babies, kids and teens- you’ll find 5 safe mineral sunscreen options for babies.

SHOP UPF50+ CLOTHING & SWIMWEAR FOR BABIES

UV Protective Clothing For Girls

UPF CLOTHING FOR GIRLS

From toddler to grade schooler, there are some adorable options for girls of all ages. I love the UPF50+ hoodie dress to throw on post-swim. Applying sunscreen to a kids that are in the water all day can be tricky, and rash guards are perfect for swimming to protect vulnerable skin from intense sun. Have your kids sit under a UPF50+ tent or large shade umbrella when they’re not swimming (recommendations at the end of this post). Check out my post on mineral sunscreen for kids and teens- you’ll find the best safe mineral sunscreen options in lotion, stick and spray formulas.

SHOP UPF50+ CLOTHING & SWIMWEAR FOR GIRLS

UV Protective Clothing For Boys

UPF CLOTHING FOR BOYS

There are some cute UPF50+ swimsuit and clothing options for boys of all ages. I love the UPF50+ striped trunks and the solid colors from Primary. Applying sunscreen to a kid that’s in the water all day can be tricky, and rash guards are perfect for swimming to protect vulnerable skin from sunburn. Have your kids sit under a UPF50+ tent or large shade umbrella when they’re not swimming (recommendations at the end of this post). Check out my post on mineral sunscreen for kids and teens- you’ll find the best safe mineral sunscreen options in lotion, stick and spray formulas.

SHOP UPF50+ CLOTHING & SWIMWEAR FOR BOYS

UV Protective Hats & Accessories For Kids

UPF HATS & ACCESSORIES

Beyond UPF swimwear and clothing, hats are a must for keeping the sun off little faces and necks. And if you can get your baby or kid to wear polarized sunglasses, that’s a win! Also,  Check out my post on mineral sunscreen for babies, kids and teens- you’ll find the best safe mineral sunscreen options in lotion, stick and spray formulas.

SHOP UFP50+ HATS & ACCESSORIES

UV Protective Beach Tents, Chairs & Umbrellas

UPF BEACH CHAIRS, TENTS & UMBRELLAS

When kids aren’t swimming and splashing in the water, have them sit under a UPF50+ umbrella or have them eat lunch in a UPF50+ tent to get some reprieve from the intense sun. Don’t forget the beach chairs! We also use UPF50+ canopy chairs to watch soccer games and it’s so nice to have some extra shade. Also, Check out my post on mineral sunscreen for babies, kids and teens- you’ll find the best safe mineral sunscreen options in lotion, stick and spray formulas.

SHOP UPF50+ BEACH CHAIRS, TENTS & UMBRELLAS

Kids Digging a sandcastle at the beach