child's bathing suitBaby swimsuits can be really, really cute. There are a lot to choose from -- the ones with little ruffled butts, the adorable prints, and suits with your child's favorite character. But frankly, we should really try to avoid buying baby swimsuits that even slightly resemble adult suits.

No, I'm not talking about baby bikinis, but I'd be happy if those disappeared off the planet yesterday. I'm talking about bathing suits that expose baby skin that doesn't need to be exposed. I've got some ideas to help you choose the right swimsuit and sun-protecting accessories for your baby.

Babies have thinner skin than adults, which means they can burn a lot quicker than you'd think. It also is more serious in babies, who have a much larger skin ratio than we do as well, so preventing burns is very, very important.

Skip the traditional cut swimsuits and opt for SPF 30 (or more) rated Rash Guard swim gear, for both your boys and girls. The Old Navy swimsuit above looks more like a t-shirt -- there's even long-sleeved versions you're probably used to seeing on surfers. It's swimsuit material, but protects a large portion of sensitive skin. That Old Navy suit is rated to an SPF equivalent of 50, and unlike sunscreen, doesn't wear off (though you obviously have to apply and re-apply sunscreen where it doesn't cover). These types of swimsuits, while maybe not the same style you're used to, can be seriously cute ... and more importantly, protect your baby much, much better.

baby sun hatFor the rest of their little body, look for wide-brimmed hats that shade the face and the back of the next (though many Rash Guard shirts have a decent collar to help there). You can find them almost anywhere, especially this time of year, and many are on sale, too.

Also if your baby will tolerate them, sunglasses are always a major plus, since little eyes can be damaged by rays reflecting off water, sand, and even snow (not so much applicable in swimsuit talk, but still). Baby sunglasses that are rated to protect their eyes some aren't very expensive and often come with straps to keep them on ... well, until baby removes it, but maybe you're one of the lucky ones whose children will keep them on? It's worth a shot.

Don't forget about cover-ups either!

Do you choose baby swim gear based on skin protection or looks?

 

Images via Old Navy; Old Navy