What Is UPF Clothing for Kids?
When your little girls are out exploring and playing under the sun, the last thing you need to worry about is sunburnt skin. That’s where UPF clothing comes in, the physical (and downright adorable) sun blocker.
Like wearable sunscreen, proper UPF clothing blocks harmful UV rays to a nearly impenetrable degree. For a burn-free baby—and a stress-free parent—consider keeping your closets well-stocked with UPF apparel and other protective clothing.
What is UPF clothing exactly, and how does it work? If you’ve still got questions and are wondering how to dress a baby in summer, we’ve got answers. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about UPF baby girl swimwear and why it’s brimming with benefits.
UPF 101: Protected Clothing
At first glance, UPF clothing might have you scratching your head.
Doesn’t all clothing block sun rays? Believe it or not, that’s not always the case.
Unlike your average clothes, UPF clothing provides UV protection by blocking UV light down to the microscopic level. Let’s explore the science behind it.
What Does UPF Mean?
So, what is UPF protection?
UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, a measurement of how much UV radiation can penetrate fabric and reach skin. Without UPF protection, clothing can still allow harmful UV light to penetrate microholes in fabric, reaching your child’s precious skin.
Like sunscreen, UPF ranges across a spectrum. From cotton t-shirts to formulated designs, here’s the amount of protection that different UPF levels offer:
- UPF 5 –Most standard t-shirts and tops have a UPF 5 factor. Even as a physical barrier, clothing with UPF 5 only blocks about 80% of sun rays. Under intense sunlight, your little one’s skin could still receive UV damage.
- UPF 30 – Blocking 97% of UV rays, UPF 30 should be the minimum standard for a child’s beach wardrobe. This level is the minimum required in order to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.
- UPF 50+ – To block UV light completely, experts recommend clothing with UPF 50 or higher (like our baby girl swimsuits). At UPF 50, clothing blocks 98% of sun rays.
How Does UPF Work in Clothing?
UPF is just the measurement of sun protection in clothing. But what components of an article of clothing help to determine this number? What is UPF 50 clothing made of exactly?
Since UPF measures the percentage of UV rays blocked, it completely depends on the clothing’s composition and quality. This includes factors like:
- Materials used
- Fabric weave
- Fabric thickness and weight
- Total skin coverage
As a general rule, better UPF protection comes with synthetic fabric that is thicker, heavier, darker, and denser making it harder for the sun's rays to penetrate and cause damage. However, we get that your little one can’t wear a wool sweater on the beach to protect from ultraviolet radiation and sun exposure—that’s where smart design comes into play. Our own UPF swimsuits stay cute, colorful, and lightweight while providing UPF 50+ protection.
UPF vs. SPF—Which is Better for Kids?
You may not know UPF, but you’ve probably heard of its skincare cousin—SPF.
Found in all sunscreens, Sun Protection Factor (or SPF) blocks UV rays via liquid formulas applied to skin. Adults can use sunscreen every day, but kids might need a more stable and safe form of sun protection. To help choose, let’s explore the differences between UPF vs. SPF protection.
How is SPF Different from UPF?
UPF and SPF sound pretty similar. However, they measure completely different forms of sun protection.
UPF measures the percentage of UV rays blocked by clothing. SPF states the factor of how much longer sunscreened skin can block UVB rays (not UVA rays) compared to bare skin. For skin that burns after 20 minutes of exposure, these SPF factors offer varying lengths of protection:
- SPF 15 – 300 minutes
- SPF 30 – 600 minutes
- SPF 45 – 900 minutes
- SPF 50 – 1000 minutes
You might wonder, why do kids need UPF clothing if they can wear sunscreen? After all, any UV blocking may help decrease the risk of skin cancer, aging, and damage. Unfortunately, liquid sunscreen isn’t always reliable (or even safe) for children—let’s discuss why.
Why Choose UPF?
Due to their chemical formulas and fading efficacy, SPF sunscreen isn’t a standalone solution for kids—and especially not infants). For these reasons, skincare experts recommend dressing your child in UPF clothing for its:
- Lack of chemicals – For babies, it’s best to avoid formulated lotions like sunblock. That’s because their skin is more vulnerable to sunscreen side effects like rash or irritation. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until your baby reaches six months old to apply any sunscreen.
- One-and-done application – Waterproof or not, sunscreen’s protection eventually fades, requiring reapplication about every two hours or so. On the other hand, UPF clothing stays on all day for guaranteed safety.
- Ensured protection – Unless you buy a full-spectrum brand, sunscreen only blocks UVB rays. Additionally, many people don’t apply enough sunscreen to reap its full protection (about one ounce for the entire body and a half teaspoon for the face). UPF clothing and swimwear provides steady and controlled UVA and UVB protection.
Let RuffleButts Protect Her Skin in Style
From the pool to the playground, UPF rated clothing should be part of your beach essentials for toddlers because they keep your little adventurer’s skin safe without the hassle of sticky lotion. Luckily, we know the perfect place to look for these sun-protective clothes—our own RuffleButts baby girl swimsuit collection.
If you’re wondering how to keep a baby cool in hot weather, search no more. Our one-pieces, two-pieces, trunks, and swim tops are all made with UPF 50+ fabric (and adorable patterns). That means total protection from the sun’s UV rays, all day long. Besides our quality swimsuits, our swimwear accessories, like a baby girl sun hat, are the perfect summer baby essentials because they block ultraviolet rays from head to toe, with everything from sunglasses to cover ups.
With RuffleButts swimwear, your kid has the best of safety and style under the sun.
Allure. How Much Sunscreen Do You Really Need to Apply Every Day? https://www.allure.com/story/the-right-amount-of-sunscreen-to-apply
FDA. Should You Put Sunscreen on Infants? Not Usually. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/should-you-put-sunscreen-infants-not-usually
FDA. Sun Protection Factor (SPF). https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/center-drug-evaluation-and-research-cder/sun-protection-factor-spf
New York Times. What is UPF Clothing? https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/what-is-upf-clothing/
Skin Cancer Foundation. Sun Protective Clothing. https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-prevention/sun-protection/sun-protective-clothing/
How to Keep Baby Cool in Hot Weather
Picture this: your baby wakes you up as soon as the first ray of sunshine slips through the crack in your bedroom curtains. It’s only 6 AM, but that’s a-okay because it’s summertime, and you have a full buffet of poolside playdates, park kite-flying, and beach strolls waiting.
But as soon as you and your baby step outside, the extreme heat hits you like a weight—literally. It’s so hot you can barely move.
In these moments, you may wonder how to keep baby cool in hot weather.
Fortunately for you and your mini-me, we’ve put together this guide on how to help keep baby cool in hot weather all summer long, whether you’re beaching, playing in the park, or simply napping at home. So, let’s dive in.
How to Keep Baby Cool in Hot Weather During the Day
Helping your baby stay cool on a hot day in the summer can often feel like a juggling act. For instance, although you should keep your baby dressed in light, breezy clothing, you should also keep her skin protected from the sun. While it’s best to let her body release heat, you should also make sure her head is covered. And although a stroller or car seat can provide extra coverage, you don’t want her to overheat in an enclosed environment.
See what we mean? A juggling act!
To help keep things manageable, let’s discuss 4 easy ways you can help your baby beat the heat.
Dress Baby in Light, Layered Pieces
When it comes to how to dress baby in summer, keeping your baby dressed in layers of lightweight, breathable clothing is the best way to keep her cool in the summer months whether you’re playing inside or venturing outdoors. If you’re inside, some easy and functional summer baby essentials to consider dressing her in are:
- Short-sleeved cotton baby girl bodysuits
- Cotton bodysuit
- Sleeveless baby girl romper
- Light shorts and toddler girl t-shirt combo
- Sundress with matching diaper cover
- Just a diaper
However, if you’re headed outside, you’ll want to make sure your baby’s tender skin is covered. Because your baby isn’t ready for sunscreen before 6 months old you might be wondering how to best protect their skin. Learning more about ‘What is UPF clothing,’ will help you find ways to protect her from the sun’s UV rays.
Try adding one of the following to her outfit when you head into the sunshine:
- Cotton cardigan
- Snap-front kimono top
- Light brimmed hat
- Muslin swaddle
Ensure Baby Stays Hydrated
Not only should you keep your baby cool on the outside with light clothing, but you should also keep her cool on the inside with sufficient hydration. Babies can become dehydrated much faster than adults, so try to feed her an extra bottle or add another nursing session when there is a high temperature .
While formula and breastmilk are always acceptable forms of hydration, be cautious about offering your baby other refreshments, such as:
- Cool Water – Babies can only have water starting at around 6 months old, as long as their main source of hydration and nutrition continues to come from breastmilk or formula.
- Fruit Juice – Only after your baby is 6 months old can you occasionally give her juice. This is because the empty sugar calories in juice can lead to tooth decay, weight gain, and diarrhea.
- Ice Cubes – You shouldn’t let your baby suck on ice cubes until she’s at least 4 years old because they pose a choking hazard. Around 1 year old, your baby might be able to handle frozen fruit pops or a frozen ice bar, but she should still be closely monitored if given one of these cool treats.
When the extreme heat of summer hits, it’s also wise to keep close track of how many wet diapers your baby produces. This is a good gauge of whether or not she’s sufficiently hydrated.
Try to Avoid Direct Sunlight
Staying out of direct sunlight is just as important to summer comfort as dressing your baby appropriately and keeping her hydrated. Not only can the sun sap her energy and raise her body temperature, but it can also lead to painful burns on your baby’s tender skin.
If you do have to be outdoors with your young baby, consider:
- Avoiding the midday sun (between 11 AM and 2 PM)
- Shading your baby with an umbrella, stroller shade, or parasol
- Lightly swaddling younger babies in a cotton muslin
- Putting a brimmed hat and sunglasses on older babies
- Using sunscreen for babies older than 6 months
- Avoiding placing your baby in enclosed spaces, like cars, strollers, and car seats
- Researching places nearby where you can cool off, like libraries, malls, bookshops, or theaters
Take a Dip in the Pool
Swimming with your baby is a great way to keep both of you cool and refreshed in the summer heat. Although expert opinions vary on what age is safe to take your baby swimming, always be mindful of the different beach essentials for toddlers as well as to:
- Keep your baby shaded from the sun
- Watch for signs of becoming chilled in the cool water, such as shivering
- Stay vigilant about watching her at all times, especially if she’s mobile
- Wait at least an hour after feeding to swim
How to Keep Baby Cool in Hot Weather at Night
In the summertime, the night might offer some relief from the scorching sun. But sometimes, hot nights and days become one long sweltering stretch.
If you don’t have air conditioning to cool your baby’s room, you’ll need to take some additional steps to keep her cool on hot summer nights, such as:
- Ensuring Her Crib Comfort – Your baby’s crib mattress should be outfitted with a tight, breathable sheet made of a natural material, like cotton, bamboo, or satin. Beyond the sheet, don’t place any additional items in your baby’s crib, such as:
- Circulating the Air – Even without air conditioning, your baby’s room can be a cool sanctuary at night if you utilize a ceiling or standing fan to circulate the air. The caution here is that you make sure the draft from the fan doesn’t blow directly onto your baby, potentially chilling her too much.
- Choosing Appropriate Pajamas – When it comes to how to dress baby for sleep in summer, it might be as easy as taking off everything except her diaper when high temperatures just won’t quit. However, on cooler summer nights (or if you can regulate her room temperature with air conditioning), general guidelines for summer pajamas are:
- Below 68℉:
- A sleep sac over a long-sleeved onesie
- Long-sleeved fitted and footed pajamas
- A temperature appropriate swaddling blanket made from fleece or muslin
- Hat and mittens (if the temperature is below 60℉)
- Below 68℉:
- Between 68℉ and 75℉:
- Cotton or light fleece sleep sack
- Long sleeve onesie
- Lightweight or cotton footed pajamas
- Fitted two-piece pajamas
- Swaddle over a onesie or footed pajamas
- Above 75℉:
- Diaper (alone or with a cotton cover)
- Breathable cotton or muslin swaddle
- Breathable short onesie
Warning Signs of An Overheated Baby
No matter the weather, knowing the warning signs of an overheated baby is important knowledge for every parent and caretaker. When there is a high temperature, be on the lookout for:
- Elevated heart rate (above 150 bpm)
- Skin that feels hot to the touch
- Red or flushed skin on the face or body
- Lack of sweat and tears or a very sweaty head (some babies sweat while others don’t, so you need to know how your baby reacts to use this indicator)
How to Cool An Overheated Baby
If you notice that your baby is overheating, you need to take immediate steps to bring her temperature back down. The best ways to cool down an overheated baby are:
- Moving out of any direct sunlight
- Retreating indoors if you can locate a cooler location
- Removing excess clothing until she’s only wearing a diaper
- Giving her a lukewarm bath or a cool sponge bath
- Hydrating her with formula or breastmilk
- Opening windows to create a cross-breeze or moving to a cooler room (if indoors)
If your baby still seems overheated, you can check her temperature with a thermometer to understand whether a call to your pediatrician is necessary. Any temperature above 100.4℉ warrants a call to her medical provider immediately.
Stay Cool and Cute All Year Long With RuffleButts
With summer comes hot (sometimes sweltering) weather, but with a few tricks, like layering cotton clothing, staying sun-smart, and hydrating with breastmilk or formula, you and your baby can stay cool, comfortable, and safe all summer long.
At RuffleButts, we know that finding cute, comfortable, and functional summer clothing for your little one is a top priority. That’s why we’ve designed all of our clothing collections with those hallmarks. From our ruffled little girl tank tops to our printed rompers, we always choose the highest quality textiles, the finest finishes, and the most hand-me-down worthy styles. Plus, all of our baby girl swimsuits are made with UPF 50+ fabric to help ensure even greater protection from the sun on those exciting summer beach or pool days.
Shop our collections today to see how you can keep your baby looking and feeling her best on the hottest days of summer and throughout the entire year.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Should You Put Sunscreen on Infants? https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/should-you-put-sunscreen-infants-not-usually
Cleveland Clinic. Dehydration in Children. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/8276-dehydration-and-your-child#:~:text=Dehydration%20occurs%20when%20an%20infant,wet%20diapers%20and%20tearless%20crying.
WebMD. Water for Infants. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/what-you-need-to-know-water-infants
Nemours Kids Health. When Can My Baby Start Drinking Juice? https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/babies-juice.html#:~:text=It's%20best%20to%20wait%20until,in%20formula%20and%20breast%20milk.
Midlands Department of Public Health. Healthy and Safe Swimming With Your Child. https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/publications/children/child-safety-awareness-programme---healthy-and-safe-swimming.pdf
How to Dress Baby in Summer
Oh, summer— it’s the season for cookouts and beach trips, picnics and pool days. These seasonal occasions seem to be even more special when you’ve got a baby in tow.
While it can be tempting to doll up your little babies for every summertime event, it's important to be mindful of how to keep baby cool in hot weather. From baby girl rompers and sun hats to sunscreen and baby girl onesies, we've put together our top tips to keep your baby looking sweet as a watermelon and feeling cool as a cucumber all summer long.
Read on for our expert guide on how to dress baby in summer heat.
Summertime Dressing Considerations
Before we get into how to dress baby girl in summer months, let's talk a little about why you need to be doing so with mindfulness and care at all times.
Be Mindful of Your Baby’s Thermoregulatory System
As soon as your little pea was born, they were likely whisked off to be washed, dried, and bundled before settling against you for body heat. This is because, unlike an adult or an older child, newborns and young babies have almost no ability to regulate their own body temperature. This inability is due to their:
- Immature circulatory and respiratory systems – Because their immature respiratory and circulatory systems aren’t yet operating at full capacity, a newborn baby can't regulate their body temperature like older children and adults. Although their internal thermoregulatory system does mature and kick in by the time they are around 18 months old, you have to be vigilant about helping them heat and cool their bodies while it develops.
- Large skin surface area – Young babies have a large skin surface area relative to their tiny body size. This means that they quickly lose and gain heat depending on the ambient temperature, breeze, and humidity.
Mindfully dressing your baby in cool, loose clothing is one of the best ways to help them maintain a normal body temperature in the warm weather.
Protect Your Baby’s Sensitive Skin
When dressing your baby for summer—or any season—their infant skin should be one of the top considerations. That’s because a baby’s brand-new skin is extremely sensitive to sunlight due to:
- Low melanin content – The pigment that gives color to skin, hair, and eyes as well as offers sun protection is very low when a baby is born.
- Sunscreen caution – Research isn’t conclusive about sunscreen safety on newborns so many experts recommend that it’s best to hold off on using it until your baby is at least 6 months old.
Dressing your little babies in layers that cover their skin is the best way to prevent sunburn and heat rashes. For extra protection, opt for clothing that’s made with sun-protective fabric like UPF 50+. If you are wondering, “What is UPF clothing,” it is capable of blocking up to 98% of the sun’s UV rays.
How to Dress Your Baby in Summertime
Balancing summer skin protection with breathable outfits might seem like walking a tightrope.
So, what’s a parent to do?
Luckily, with a few tricks and summer baby essentials, dressing your baby for sun safety, cool comfort, and pure adorableness is totally achievable.
Stay Warm in Air Conditioning
Summer wouldn’t be summer without somebody blasting the air-conditioning. While it can feel good to cool off in a temperature-controlled room on a sticky day, sometimes the temperature difference from outside to inside can be as much as forty degrees.
Luckily, layering isn’t just for sun safety. It will keep your baby cozy when you venture from the hot weather outside to the cool indoors.
A good rule to observe is that if you feel uncomfortable (either too hot or too cold), your baby probably does, too.
Certain places that you may visit tend to be chilly even on a sweltering day. So pack your diaper bag with an extra hat, blanket, or an adorable ruffle cardigan if you’re heading to:
- Pediatrician’s office
- Daycare or school
- Office building
Keep Cool on a Hot Summer Day
Dressing a baby to stay cool means paying attention to fabrics, layers, and ambient conditions.
But the best baby clothes in the summer might be no clothes at all. When the temp is up and the sun is down, consider allowing your little bun to sleep or play indoors in nothing more than a diaper and a light muslin or cotton swaddle.
However, when you do need to dress your baby in more than a diaper and swaddle, try one of these cool summer clothing staples:
- Short sleeve or no-sleeve baby girl onesie
- Baby girl rompers
- A toddler girl t-shirt and shorts
- Sundress and diaper cover
- Loose overalls
- Swing tops and matching baby bloomers
Look for garments made of high-quality and breathable fabrics like:
- Cotton poplin
- Cotton terry
Stay Sun-Safe When You’re Out and About
In some cases, the clothes that are best for keeping your baby cool often leave their tender skin exposed to the sun. Focus on dressing your baby in loose, light clothing made of high-quality natural fabrics when you head outside. But bring along some adjustable layers so that you can completely cover their skin when they’re in direct sunlight.
Some garments that work well for layering are:
- Toddler girl t-shirts
- Toddler girl long-sleeved shirts
- Cotton cardigans
- Swing tops
- Loose bloomers, shorts, and pants
- Soft, loosely woven cotton blankets
Wherever you’re exploring in the summer months, don’t forget to be mindful of environmental dangers like:
- Bug bites that can cause redness, swelling, and itching
- Bug spray that can cause allergies and rashes
- Environmental pesticides or fertilizers used in grass and plantings
- Poisonous plants like poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac can lead to painful reactions
So if you’re heading to a park, picnic, beach, or garden party, layer up so that your baby’s skin is properly covered.
Properly Prepare for a Day at the Beach
If your outdoor adventures include a trip to the beach or lake, you’ll want to take a similar approach and look into the best beach essentials for toddlers and babies. The one difference? Dressing your little one in swimwear that’ll keep them safe from the sun—and stylish.
Luckily, RuffleButts makes it easy to accomplish both. Our entire baby girl swimsuit collection is made with UPF 50+ fabric, keeping them protected from the sun as they play in the sand, tide pools, and waves.
Beyond dressing your baby in a protective suit, keep these tips in mind before heading to the beach:
- Use a light sunhat that shields the face, ears, and neck while outdoors
- Try a pair of baby sunglasses
- Cover their exposed skin with a light, loose blanket or muslin wrap
- Make sure your baby is always well hydrated
- Stay in the shade as much as possible
- Be vigilant for sunburn and rashes
Extra Protection for Newborns
As with all parenting, dressing your baby will get easier in time. However, if your baby is a tiny summer newborn, all the rules of keeping them cool and covering them up are doubly important.
Because they’ll be sleeping many hours of the day and night, you need to remain alert to the temperature immediately around them. Try to keep them indoors as much as possible—not only to avoid the heat but the sun as well. And don’t worry about dressing them up too much. This is a good age to keep them in loose, comfy baby girl pajamas and onesies. A sleep sack might be preferable to a tight swaddle if their room tends to be warm.
How to Spot Signs of Summer Discomfort
Even if you’ve done your best to keep your baby cool and sun-safe, you’ll want to be constantly vigilant to watch for signs of danger from dehydration, overheating, and sun exposure.
Remember, babies can become more easily dehydrated or overheated than you.
Touch their skin often and feel underneath their clothing to keep an eye on their body temperature. Babies don’t sweat as much as adults and older children, so don’t use perspiration as a metric for gauging their temperature.
Be especially vigilant if your little one is spending more than a few minutes in a sling, car seat, or stroller as these can increase the temperature directly around their body.
Know the following symptoms that could indicate your baby might be suffering from too much sunshine or heat:
- Skin that’s hot to the touch (with or without sweating)
- Red or flushed skin
- Hair wet with sweat
- Fussiness or restlessness
- Lethargy or sluggishness
- Elevated heart rate
Taking your baby’s temperature with a thermometer may help you determine if they’re experiencing discomfort, but be aware that their body temperature can be impacted by numerous outside factors including time of day, clothing, and ambient temperature.
Keep Your Kiddo Cool, Covered, and Cute with RuffleButts
We know that keeping your baby comfortable, adorable, and sun-safe in the summertime can feel like a constant balancing act. Cover up too much and you risk overheating. Cover up too little and sunburn, bug bites, and rashes become a concern.
At RuffleButts we’re dedicated to helping you choose clothing for your baby that’s darling, unique, and appropriate for summer—or any season.
From cheerful baby girl rompers and colorful baby girl onesies to our signature RuffleButts baby bloomers to pair with little girl swing tops and cute toddler sundresses, all our clothing is designed with attention to fine details. Not to mention, they’re constructed with the top hand-me-down quality fabrics. Whether you’re shopping for comfy looks for your baby to snuggle into on a quiet summer morning at home or snazzy outfits to show off at the family reunion, trust RuffleButts. We’ve got the baby clothes that will keep your baby cool, covered, and absolutely adorable all summer long.
Champlain Maternal Newborn Regional Program. Newborn Thermoregulation. http://www.cmnrp.ca/uploads/documents/Newborn_Thermoregulation_SLM_2013_06.pdf
Skin Cancer Foundation. Bringing Up A Sun Safe Baby. https://www.skincancer.org/blog/bringing-up-a-sun-safe-baby/#:~:text=Tiny%20Babies%2C%20Big%20Risk,and%20provides%20some%20sun%20protection
WebMD. 11 Common Causes of Skin Rashes. https://www.webmd.com/children/ss/slideshow-skin-irritants