Sun Protective Clothing for Kids

What's Covered

Selecting the sun protective clothing for kids:

Did you know that the cases of skin cancer are on the rise around the world? For example, according to a recent study, melanoma of the skin, caused by exposure to excessive sunlight, is the third most diagnosed form of cancer in Australia[1] and in the United States it is the seventh most commonly diagnosed type of cancer[2]. Keeping these statistics in view, as a parent, getting the right sun protection for your kids is crucial. Sun protective clothing is an excellent way of keeping your little ones safe from harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Things to look for when buying sun protective clothing:

Before you head off to your favorite retailer, kids fashion brand or online store, there are a few things you need to consider when buying sun protective clothing for your little ones.

Ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating:

UPF rating determines how much ultraviolet radiation the clothing will block. For example, a T shirt with UPF 50 will block 98% of the harmful ultraviolet radiation[3]. So, the higher the UPF rating, the better.

Fabric type:

Type of fabric determines how much protection you will get as well as your comfort level. Choose fabric that is tightly woven as well as lightweight and comfortable against the skin.   

Color:

If you recall the lesson from the science class at school, you will remember that darker colors absorb more light. Same is true of clothes. Darker colored clothes absorb more sunlight, hence allowing less of the harmful radiation to pass to your body, offering you more protection as a result.

Type of activity your child is doing:

If you are looking for sun protective clothing, chances are your child will be involved in some outdoor activity. You must be mindful of the type of activity your child is doing and select the appropriate clothing. I am sure you would not want them to go fishing with their dad wearing just the swim trunks no matter what the UPF rating is. In this scenario, surely a fishing hoodie will work best.

Best sun protection items for your kids

1.    Coolibar UPF 50+ Kids’ Andros Fishing Hoodie – Sun Protective

This hoodie is perfect when your kid wants to accompany dad on that fishing trip. It blocks 98% of ultraviolet radiation offering protection as well as peace of mind. It has 4-way stretch fabric for unrestricted movement as well as underarm mesh for ventilation while in the sun. The fabric is also quick dry, chlorine & salt water resistant, making it ideal if your kid wants to play in water. This hoodie comes with an adjustable face mask with nosepiece as well as full sleeves that offer center finger loop meaning the face and hands of your kid will be protected as well. It is available in 9 different colors/patterns and size range from x-small to x-large offering plenty of options for kids of different build.

Coolibar UPF 50+ Kids' Andros Fishing Hoodie - Sun Protective
sun protective hoodie ideal for fishing and other outdoor activities

2.    Kanu Surf Boys’ Paradise UPF 50+ Sun Protective Swim Shirt

This shirt by Kanu Surf is ideal for pool or beach days. Your kid will stay sun safe both in and out of water. The lightweight polyester fabric ensures that the shirt does not get too heavy even when wet, giving your child freedom to play. This shirt is available in both men and boys’ sizes plus you can also buy matching swim trunks, meaning dad and son can both dress up and enjoy the sun. Kanu Surf’s quick dry technology and UPF 50+ rating ensures superior sun protection.

Kanu Surf Boys' Paradise UPF 50+ Sun Protective Rashguard Swim Shirt
sun protective swim shirt designed to be used at the beach or pool for both boys and men

3.    Yober Kids UPF 50+ Swimsuit with Hat

This one is a personal favorite of mine as we ordered this swimsuit from Yober for our little one and it turned out great. It comes with a hat that is decent sized, so it covers the back of the head as well ensuring complete protection from the sun. This swimsuit comes in 8 different sizes starting from 0-3 months to 4-5 years. Shark print on the front looks cool and it has a zip on the back so that it is easy to put on and take off. The only drawback that we found is the fact that you must take off the whole suit for a diaper change and several other customers have mentioned the same thing in reviews as well. This swimsuit is rated UPF 50+ and is ideal for use on the beach or pool for both bathing and swimming.

Yober Baby Boys Kids Swimsuit One Piece Toddlers Zipper Bathing Suit Swimwear with Hat Rash Guard Surfing Suit UPF 50+
sun protective swimsuit with hat for children that is ideal to be used for swimming and bathing

4.    Shedo Lane Sun Protective Baby Onesie, Long Sleeve Bodysuit

This onesie by Shedo Lane is another product that we have personally used for our little one and I can vouch for its comfort and quality. It is available in 7 different colors and 3 sizes. This temperature regulating onesie is perfect for both indoors and outdoors. UPF 50+ rating means it block 98% of harmful ultraviolet radiation. The fabric used is sustainable bamboo, which is stretchy, lightweight and has a soft texture. Bamboo is hypoallergenic as well, so this onesie is perfect for babies with sensitive skin. The neck is tag less and wide, making it comfortable to put on and take off. The snap closure button makes diaper changes very convenient as well.

Shedo Lane Baby Onesie, Long Sleeve Bodysuit, Sun Protection Clothing UPF 50+
soft, comfortable. Lightweight and hypoallergenic sun protective onesie for kids

5.    RuffleButts UPF 50+ Sun Protection One Piece Swimsuit with Zipper

This swimsuit from is ideal for use at the beach or pool. It is available in a variety of colors and patterns giving the parents adorable choices for your little one. The zipper at the back makes the swimsuit very easy to put on and take off even when it is wet. The snaps at the bottom make diaper changes easy and convenient. The long sleeves and high neck on this swimsuit provide more coverage and sun protection, hence reducing the need to use sunscreen. It is rated UPF 50+ providing adequate protection against harmful radiation.

RuffleButts Baby/Toddler Girls Anything is Possible One Piece Rash Guard - 0-3m
sun protective long-sleeved swimsuit for girls with adorable designs

6.    Shedo Lane Sun Protective Hooded Romper Jumpsuit

Another product by Shedo Lane using their signature bamboo fabric, which is super soft, luxurious, and stretchable. This romper jumpsuit is perfect for everyday use for your kids. It is available in over 10 different colors and 6 different sizes providing plenty of options for parents to choose from.  Mitten cuffs are available on sizes 0-3M, 3-6M, and 6-12M means extra protection for your kids. It is rated UPF 50+ for best protection from ultraviolet radiation. The fabric is breathable and temperature regulating plus the zipper makes this romper easy to put on and take off.

Shedo Lane Baby Long Sleeve Hooded Zipper Romper UPF 50 - Blue Moon - 0-3M
bamboo fabric romper jumpsuit for kids which is comfortable as well as sun protective and can be used in different settings everyday

7.    BONVERANO UPF 50+ One Piece Swimsuit with Zipper

This sunsuit for baby girls is made from OEKOTEX-100 Certified Fabrics which is free from harmful chemical residues. It is rated UPF 50+ for 98% protection from ultraviolet radiation and according to the manufacturer it will keep this ultraviolet blocking rate even after repeated washing. This sunsuit is perfect for use at the beach or outdoor pools, and it is made from chlorine resistant fabric so it can be safely used in a swimming pool containing chlorine. The zipper length on this sunsuit is from neck to navel means it is easy to put on and take off and the clothing between zipper and skin provides comfort for the baby. Made from stretchable fabric this sunsuit is available in a variety of colors and six different sizes.

Bonverano(TM) Kids UPF 50+ Sun Protection S/S One Piece Zip Sun Suit With Sun Hat (3-6 months,...
sun protective long-sleeved swimsuit for baby girls made from chorine resistant fabric

8.    Coolibar UPF 50+ Kid’s Gannett UV Sun Protective Glove

Gannett UV gloves by Coolibar are ideal for outdoor use to protect your hands from harmful radiation. Used in combination with sun protective clothing, these UPF 50+ rated gloves will provide your kids complete protection. These gloves are touchscreen compatible and have a silicone grip which makes handling devices easier and safer while kids are playing outside. These gloves also provide kids more comfort and parents more peace of mind by reducing the need for hand lotions or sunscreens. Hands are especially vulnerable to sun damage when outside or travelling as harmful radiation can even penetrate car windows so using these gloves can protect your child’s hands from sun damage.

Coolibar UPF 50+ Kid's Gannett UV Glove - Sun Protective
sun protective gloves that are touch screen compatible and provide an alternative to sunscreen or hand lotions

9.    LLmoway Kids Sun Protection Hat

If you are looking for a sun protective hat for your kids, then look no further than this one. It is made from 100% polyester, the material is quick drying, lightweight and easily foldable meaning it is easy to carry around and comfortable to wear for an extended period. Mesh mask and neck flap on this hat will keep your kids face and neck protected from sun. The hat is adjustable and fits different sizes so it will fit with your kids’ growth. This hat is a perfect accessory for a variety of outdoor activities such as exercise, cycling, hiking, and camping.

10. Coolibar UPF 50+ Kid’s Fore Golf Hat

This golf hat is the perfect accessory when you want to protect your kid from exposure to the sun and want them to look cool. This hat comes with sophisticated anti-glare and ventilation features to provide extra comfort for your kid. This hat is made with lightweight foam brim and comes with an internal sweatband plus an elastic draw cord so it will fit easily. UPF 50+ rating guarantees it will block 98% of the harmful radiation making it ideal for a variety of outdoor sports and activities.

Coolibar UPF 50+ Kid's Fore Golf Hat - Sun Protective
sun protective golf hat with antiglare brim ideal for comfort with style

11. UV Skinz Baby Girls’ UPF 50+ Reversible Sun Hat

This sun hat is perfect when your little girl needs protection from harmful ultraviolet radiation. It is another product that we have personally used, and the material is good quality, color is bright which looks great on the baby. It is lightweight, adjustable and has built-in chin ties so that it stays in place on the baby’s head. It also has ventilation holes to for added breathability and comfort.  The extra wide brim on this hat covers the baby’s neck, face, and ears, providing extra protection from the sun. The hat is also reversible in case you want to try a different look.

UV SKINZ UPF50+ Baby Girl Reversible Sun Hat-Bubblegum/Hot Pink-3/6m
sun blocking hat for infants featuring bright colors and is reversible for two looks in the price of one

12. Tuga Girls Sun Protective Two-Piece Bathing Suit

If you are looking for fashionable swimwear for your little girl that is also sun protective, Tuga offers you the perfect product. This two-piece swimsuit comes with UPF 50+ rating offering protection from harmful radiation. It features vibrant colors and is ideal for use at the pool, beach, or water park. This suit is made of fabric that is chemical free making it safe for sensitive skin as well as environment friendly. The fabric is also quick dry, and 4-way stretch offering comfort in movement. The high neck design also offers maximum sun protection.

Tuga Girls Two-Piece Long Sleeve Swimsuit Set 2-14 Years, UPF 50+ Sun Protection
sun protective two-piece bathing suit made of chemical free fabric ideal for sensitive skin

13. UV SKINZ UPF 50+ Girls’ 3-Piece Swim Set

This swimsuit is ideal if you are looking for a complete 3 piece set for your little girl that offers sun protection. The complete set comes with one shirt, a skirt, and a reversible bucket hat. It features bright and vibrant colors, and the fabric is chlorine and saltwater resistant meaning your kid can wear to the pool or the beach without worrying. The high neckline on this suit offers maximum protection from the sunlight. The ultraviolet protecting properties on the fabric are guaranteed to stay the same even after multiple washes meaning less worry for you as a parent.

UV SKINZ UPF 50+ Girls' 3-Piece Swim Set (12/18m, Blue Glitter Suns)
3-piece swimsuit for girls with chorine and saltwater resistant fabric, perfect for beach or pool days

14. Tommy Hilfiger Boys’ Swim Trunks with UPF 50+ Sun Protection 

If you want something stylish for your boy that is also sun protective, then these swimming trunks from Tommy Hilfiger will be a great buy. Keep your boy safe while he plays in the summer heat. The fabric used in these trunks has built in UPF 50+ so that your boy gets maximum protection, and you can stay worry free as a parent.  These shorts are machine washable, hence easy to clean and offer comfort, protection, and style all in one.

15. Coolibar UPF 50+ Kid’s Jogger Pants

These jogger pants from Coolibar are ideal for everyday use in the sun. The ZnO fabric used in these pants offers your little one zinc oxide protection along with being cool, comfortable, lightweight, and soft against the skin. The adjustable drawstring on these pants allows your kids to comfort while wearing and lets them choose their perfect fit. UPF 50+ rating ensures protection from 98% of the harmful radiation which means you can relax while your kid plays in the sun.

Coolibar UPF 50+ Kid's Conico Jogger Pants - Sun Protective (Medium- Grey Heather)
sun protective jogger pants with ZnO fabric offering cool and comfortable experience

16. UV SKINZ UPF 50+ Girls’ Board Shorts

These UPF 50+ rated board shorts are ideal for use at the beach or at the pool. These shorts come with a panty lining so if your little one is potty training you do not have to put a bottom underneath these shorts.  These shorts are specially treated to be salt water and chlorine resistant meaning they will last longer and provide maximum protection for your kid. They are made from quick drying stretchable material that provides comfort in moving around. Adjustable drawstring and elastic waistband mean you can adjust the fitting according to your kids’ size.

UV SKINZ UPF 50+ Girls' Board Shorts
girls’ board shorts that are sun protective and made of chlorine and salt water resistant material

17. Coolibar UPF 50+ Kids’ Swim Tights

These swim tights from Coolibar are excellent for providing full length coverage to your kid offering you peace of mind as a parent. Like other Coolibar products, these tights are also rated UPF 50+ meaning they offer waist to ankle protection from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Made from extra durable polyester, these tights will pass the test of time. They are lightweight, 4-way stretchable and chlorine and saltwater resistant making these ideal to play in water. The elastic waistband provides comfortable snug fit for your kid.

Coolibar UPF 50+ Kids' Wave Swim Tights - Sun Protective (X-Small- Bright Lavender)
sun protective swim tights for kids that are extra durable and ideal for pool or beach

Final Thoughts:

Although sunscreens and lotions are still the most commonly used products against the dangers of sunburn and harmful radiation[4], the use of sun protective clothing along with these products adds an extra layer of protection. Sun protective clothing is especially effective for kids as it is sometimes difficult to ensure adequate covering of sunscreen for them. Sun protective clothes are often made from hypoallergenic and chemical free materials that are safe for a child’s sensitive skin and environment friendly, plus you have the added bonus of your little one looking stylish while staying protected.

FAQs

Does UPF decrease after repeated use or washing?

Ultraviolet protection does decrease over time with repeated use. Usually, higher quality fabrics maintain the UPF rating longer.

Do you need to wear sunscreen under UPF rated/sun protective clothing?

The whole purpose of UPF rated or sun protective clothing is to protect you from harmful UV radiation, hence wearing a sunscreen underneath in not necessary. You can however wear sunscreen on parts of your body that are not covered by sun protective clothing for added protection.

Does Sun protection or UPF rating depend on the type of fabric?

Thicker or denser fabrics have higher UPF rating compared to say a cotton shirt. The construction of the fabric is another factor as more tightly knit clothes provide better protection that loose or porous clothes[5].

What are some of the care instructions for sun protective clothing?

  • Avoid using strong bleaches or chemicals that can damage the fabric and decrease UPF rating as a result.
  • Wash or rinse your sun protective clothing after every use.
  • Use mild detergents and gentle cycle if machine washing.
  • Avoid wringing out your sun protective clothing.
  • Prefer cold water for washing or rinsing your sun protective clothing.

Do UPF rating clothes prevent my body from absorbing Vitamin D?

According to research almost 90% of the required vitamin D in the body comes from the action of the sun or in other words exposure to sunlight[6]. You can wear UPF rated clothing but still get the required amount of sunlight for vitamin D through your arms, legs, or other exposed parts of the body. Make sure to put on sunscreen though to avoid sunburn and also avoid prolonged exposure.


[1] Hamilton, Kyra, et al. “Short Title: Parents’ beliefs about their young child’s sun-protective behaviours Full Title: Keeping kids sun safe: exploring parents’ beliefs about their young child’s sun-protective behaviours.” Psycho-Oncology 25.2: 158-163.

[2] Turner, Maria. “Sun safety: avoiding noonday sun, wearing protective clothing, and the use of sunscreen.” (1998): 1854-1855.

[3] Wilson, Cheryl A., et al. “Solar protection—effect of selected fabric and use characteristics on ultraviolet transmission.” Textile Research Journal 78.2 (2008): 95-104.

[4] Koch, Severine, et al. “Sunscreen increasingly overshadows alternative sun-protection strategies.” Journal of Cancer Education 32.3 (2017): 528-531.

[5] Saravanan, D. “UV protection textile materials.” AUTEX Research Journal 7.1 (2007): 53-62.

[6] Reichrath, Jörg. “The challenge resulting from positive and negative effects of sunlight: how much solar UV exposure is appropriate to balance between risks of vitamin D deficiency and skin cancer?” Progress in biophysics and molecular biology 92.1 (2006): 9-16.

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Author

Tiffany Biondi

Tiffany Biondi

Mother of 4 kids, Tiffany is a certified childcarer and during her free time, she write posts in thebabychoice to share her hands on experience and knowledge.

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