Summer Family Moments

How to Choose the Right Swimsuit for Your Baby

Baby 73

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

baby clothes, baby health, skin care, skin, swimwear


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AMaynard AMaynard

My son has swim trunks and a t-shirt looking top like the one in the picture above. He has very sensitive, fair skin so it's important to have all that skin coverage.

Jaimie Leader-Goodale

Been using the rash guard from the beginning. I even have a coolibar SPF shirt to wear OVER my nursing swim suit for me since i'm fair. easier than trying to reach my back with the lotion. :) 

Mandi Sronce

We gave up on swim suits for our son...we went to using a wet suit because the poor little guy kept getting cold in a heated pool

Madel... MadelynMc

Or, you could give your child a healthy dose of sun and vitamin D by NOT covering their entire body/head/eyes and watch and limit their time in the sun. This is starting to become like the hand sanitizer thing, in my opinion. There is such thing as too much protection. We need sunlight and vitamin D, and we burn because we don't spend enough time outdoors, like we have for thousands and thousands of years. Plus, most sunscreen contains toxic ingredients and known carcinogens. It makes a lot of sense trying to prevent cancer by slathering ourselves in carcinogenic sunscreen.

aviat... aviatioNation

@MadelynMc You get vitamin D even if you wear sunblock and sun protection. Sunblock is not carcinogenic if you buy the right kind (that would be pretty much any brand marketed for children and infants). You seem to be advocating against protecting children from skin cancer. Why is that? Did you know that just one bad sunburn in childhood doubles your risk of skin cancer?

kisse... kisses5050

I did not cover my children with sunscreen!!! I would not allow zink and other chemicals to soak into my childs  skin for hours at a time. I dressed my child appropriate in light cotton. My kids played outside. They went swimming. But I didnt dress them like they were prepareing for a mission on Mars. 

Madel... MadelynMc

I have children's sunscreen (Water Babies) that is FULL of carcinogens. I'm advocating protecting children from skin cancer by giving them a healthy exposure to the sun so they DON'T burn. What did our ancestors ever do without sunscreen? They must have all died off from skin cancer...

Everything in moderation. Cover up or go inside when you get enough. I'm not saying lay a naked baby out in the sun for hours, I just think wearing long-sleeved swim suits is a bit extreme.

Plenty of references to studies in those posts.


At the beach now, both kiddies have new Old Navy swimsuits with the rash guard tops-- although, I'm just as happy w baby girl in a sweet dress playing in the sand.

Madel... MadelynMc


Natural ways to avoid sunburn - antioxidants, vitamins and....getting a tan. Hmmm.

starl... starlighthippie

My daughter has a bikini. We put tons of sunscreen on her and enjoy her adorable little tummy :), but whatever works for you!


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