But repeatedly slathering sunscreen on a squealing toddler is no day at the beach. Plus, many sunscreens contain chemicals that can harm coral reefs or your own skin. Make your life easier and keep the oceans healthy by choosing sun protective clothes and gear, including natural sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends sun protective clothing as the first line of defense against ultraviolet radiation. Look for at least UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) 50, which blocks 98-percent of the sun’s harmful rays. The higher the rating, the more sun protection the fabric provides.
Cover up and you’ll have it made in the shade, no matter how sunny it is! These are our picks for the best sun protective clothing and gear for toddlers.
1. Tuga Snorkeling Caribbean Fish ID Rash Guard
Your toddler will be hooked on wearing sun-safe clothes once they see this rash guard with pictures and names of more than a dozen colorful Caribbean fish. Maybe it’ll even lure a reluctant swimmer into trying snorkeling. The Tuga ID Rash Guard is available in three colors and in a version highlighting the fish of Hawaii.
2. UPF 50+ Boys Rash Guard Short and Shorts Swimsuit Set
Ahoy, mateys! This adorable rash guard and shorts set offers UPF 50 sun protection and will have your little pirate ready to dive into your next outdoor adventure without getting burned. Argh!
3. Lilly Pulitzer Little Girls’ UPF50+ Mini Sophie Ruffle Dress
Got a Lilly lover in the house? Posh pink and every vibrant color in between is available through Lilly Pulitzer’s line of UPF 50 cover-ups, bathing suits and dresses. Time to book your ticket to Palm Beach!
4. Kelsyus Kid’s Canopy Chair
Here’s a great way to stay out of the sun while watching the big game or picnicking at the park. The Kelsyus UPF 50+ canopy chair weighs just under 5 pounds and comes with its own carry bag. Leave it in your trunk and you’ll always be prepared for the next adventure. It supports kids age 3 and older, up to 75 pounds. They also come in adult size, if you want to hold your toddler on your lap.
5. Sunbusters Reversible Bucket Hat
Your little sprout needs protecting and you want to plant the seeds for sun-safe living that lasts a lifetime. Get her or him used to hats early with the Sunbusters Reversible Bucket Hat. The strap means it easily stays in place, and it’s UPF 50.
Related: Best Baby Sun Hats
6. KRIO + COLOR One-Piece Swimsuit
Got a kid who likes to make some waves? Or maybe her parents do? Keep it colorful with this incredibly vibrant line of UPF 50+ swim shirts and sun suits. You’ll never have a problem spotting your kid at the beach or pool in the KRIO + COLOR suits.
7. Columbia Kids Mini Breaker Sunguard
Maybe you have a toddler who likes to play it cool? Or maybe Mom likes more subdued, simpler patterns? Chart a course for adventure with Columbia’s fast drying UPF 50 rash guards in a variety of colors.
8. Babiators Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
The future’s so bright, he’s gotta wear shades! With 100-percent UV protection, these aviator glasses will make your toddler feel like a rock star. They’re soft, flexible and virtually indestructible. Rubber frames mean no poking anyone’s eye out! Plus, if the Babiators are lost or broken within the first year, they can be replaced free of charge.
9. Craghoppers Kids Insect Shield Leggings
Take a hike! But not before you slip your little explorer into these hiking legging pants that do even more than protect from the sun’s harmful rays. In addition to UPF 50 protection, the Craghoppers have an invisible, odorless, EPA-approved insect blocker technology in the fabric. That means you won’t be bugged by having to apply a potentially harmful insect repellent on your kid’s skin.
Related: Best Natural Bug Repellents for Kids
Andrea Guthmann is a Midwest Emmy award-winning freelance journalist, mother of three and Master Gardener. Her travel stories have been published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Parent, Daily Herald, Cruise Critic, Midwest Living and more. She enjoys sailing Lake Michigan and visiting the world class museums and restaurants in her sweet hometown, Chicago. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram @AndreaGuthmann, or on her own website, Garden Trippin’.
Our team of parents and travel experts chooses each product and service we recommend. Anything you purchase through links on our site may earn us a commission.