Now that your kid has grown out of his or her swim diapers, it’s time to move them onto the next swimsuit phase. Their delicate skin still isn’t ready for big boy or girl swimsuits, despite how cute they would look in them. Your toddler should wear a rash guard, which is a long-sleeve shirt made out of polyester swim fabric. The rash guard can also be made into a one-piece suit, too.
This swim shirt is fortified with Ultraviolet Protection Factor 50 to keep those harmful rays from hurting your babe’s sensitive skin. UPF also measures UVA and UVB rays, which goes a step beyond your sunscreen’s SPF. SPF only takes into account UVB rays, according to the Skin Care Foundation. For reference, your typical cotton t-shirt usually has about 5 UPF. These rash guards will protect your kid from getting sunburn and other sun damage. Don’t skim on the sunscreen on visible areas by any means, but parents can feel relieved that a rash guard has your toddler mostly covered.
We found the best toddler rash guards for boys and girls. We also found a fun unisex body-suit option. All of our picks below have a UPF 50+ rating. The suits are relatively easy for your child to get in and out of, without too many tantrums or tears. The rash guards also feature super fun patterns that’ll make you want to heavily document your child’s first beach day extensively on social media.
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1. RuffleButts UPF 50+ Sun Protection Long Sleeve Swimsuit
Featuring vibrant patterns like Fab Flamingo (pictured) or Desert Blossom, it’s hard to resist these adorable rash guards for your little girl. RuffleButts is also known for featuring three fun ruffles across the butt of the suit. This long-sleeve suit is UPF 50+ and will protect your toddler’s delicate skin. The suit is also great for quick-changes—diapers and otherwise. It has nickel-free snaps at the bottom and a zipper that begins at the back of the neck.
2. Carter’s Baby and Toddler Boys’ 2-Piece Swimsuit Trunk and Rashguard
With this set from Carters, parents will get trunks and matching rash guards. The trunks have a mesh lining with covered elastic and a draw cord, so you can tighten it for your growing boy. The swimsuit is UPF 50+, which means your little one’s skin will be safe. Boys have the blue dino, blue shark (pictured), blue whales, green alligator, orange-blue ship and red and blue anchor swimsuits to choose from.
3. beautyin Long Sleeve Swimming Costume
This cute one-piece rash guard will keep your little one safe as they explore the beach, go for a swim or play in the water. There’s a zipper in the front to help your child in and out of their suit. Quick-drying and chlorine-resistant, this suit will keep your kid comfy. It’s also got a UPF 50+ rating to help protect their skin from the harmful sun. This one-piece comes in many options, including a shark suit and a floral rash guard, so there’s something for everyone.