Is Your Baby Swimwear Sun-Safe? A Guide for Parents of Tiny Beach Lovers

One of my favourite things to do when on maternity-leave with my daughter Lila was to head to the beach together. I loved to pack up her baby bathers, pop her baby beach tent under the pram and off we'd go. But one thing I did find a constant source of anxiety was a topic perhaps Australian parents of young babies can relate to: sun-safety.


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Why Is Sun-Safe Baby Swimwear So Important?

We all remember the refrain: slip, slap and slop (there are a few more S's now than when you grew up!). But when it comes to keeping baby sun-safe, taking all the right steps, and packing a baby beach bag correctly, is more important than ever.

Infant skin is especially sensitive to the sun, and little baby bodies especially vulnerable to high temperatures too. Over-heating and sunburn can have particularly nasty consequences in the very young, so no wonder we're schooled to seek out shade, keep them hydrated and keep them cool. I'm sure you've also heard plenty of advice that your infant swimwear must be "sun-safe". But what does that actually mean in practice, and what should you look for when shopping? Read our guide to choosing the right sun safe baby swimsuit below.


Looking for broader information? Read our Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Baby and Toddler Swimwear here.


What Baby Swimwear is Considered Sun-Safe?

Have a look at this run-down of the features that make your baby bathers sun-protective. Just remember, one alone may not be enough - ideally your sun safe baby swimwear will feature them all


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Look for Long-Sleeve Baby Swimwear

Maximising coverage is the first rule of thumb when choosing a baby swimsuit that will keep them safe from the sun. Most infant swimwear comes in a range of styles, often very adorable, but not all equally sun-safe. When you're taking an infant out into the sunshine, always look for a long-sleeve baby one-piece. For real tiny babies, or any children with especially fair skin, you can also find full body suits at places like the Cancer Council.


Seek out UPF50+ Protective Baby Swimwear

Whilst maximising coverage may be crucial, all that extra material is only truly sun-safe if your baby swimsuit also features UPF50+ certification. Whilst we've talked at length about how UPF50+ works in our sun-safe kids beach guide, I'll give you the potted guide. Most fabric is woven from fibres, and between the 'weave' of these fibres, UVA and UVB rays can sneak through. A UPF50+ certified treatment can prevent up to 50x more rays making it through the fabric to baby's skin. It's a bit like the SPF in your suncreen, but for fabric, and when it comes to sun safe baby swimwear, it's a must-have. If a brand offers UPF50 protective swimwear, it will be marked on the label or their website. It's certainly a feature we like to shout about!


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Make sure your Baby Swim Set isn't letting Sun Sneak Through

To continue the coverage theme, keep an eye on some common 'problem areas' we often see when it comes to baby swimwear. A low neckline leaves the delicate thin skin on your baby's collarbone exposed to the sun, and make sure your baby bathers have a full coverage bottom - this and the sleeves are the areas that most often 'ride' up on a baby swimsuit and leave skin exposed, so making sure there's lots of fabric to spare here is must


Choose Baby Bathers with the Right Fit

Those little rascals grow so fast, don't they? As tempting as it is to size up for longevity, or let baby squeeze into too-tight bathers until the end of the season, both have implications for sun-protection. Looser baby bathers will often 'gape' and leave crucial areas of skin exposed to the sun's harmful rays: areas you won't have necessarily thought to lather in sun screen. The neck and chest areas, as well as the midriff, are particularly susceptible to this.

When it comes to too-small baby swimwear, think back to what I told you about the 'holes' in the weave of your baby's swimsuit. When the fabric is stretched, these fibres become looser and the gaps in the weave larger, letting more UVA and UVB rays through. You can read more about this in our guide to ensuring your kids' sun-protective swimwear retains it's sun-stopping power.


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Enjoying the beach with sun-protective baby swimwear

By choosing quality baby swimwear, and looking out for all the sun-safe swimsuit features outlined here, you and baby can make the most of days on the beach without worrying whether their swim set is leaving them exposed to the sun.

Just choose full coverage styles, seek out UPF50-protective swimwear and buy a baby swimsuit that fits them well. Use our handy checklist below next time you're browsing baby bathers at the shops.

For starters, check out our UPF50+ certified baby swimwear here at Little Fishy Swim. Sizes start from 3 months upwards and in our baby swimwear collection we've curated the styles that offer the most coverage and protection for infant skin.

More of a visual person? Or want an easy checklist to take to the shops? Save our checklist on how to choose sun-safe baby swimwear down to your phone or print it out next time you're shopping.


checklist guide to sun safe baby swimwear by little fishy swim