UV protection swimwear for babies and kids

In this guide

What is UV?

Ultraviolet radiation is a type of energy produced by the sun. In simpler terms, it is part of the sunlight that reaches us.

Unprotected exposure to UV can lead to a host of skin damage (see below). The problem is, it’s easy to not notice the damage that UV is doing to your skin because UV isn’t the same as light or heat, which we can see and feel. You can only tell you have been affected by UV rays after the damage has been done.

The intensity of UV rays vary by seasons, location and time of day. 10am to 4pm is considered peak hours for UV rays.

Why do you need to protect babies from UV?

As we’ve already discussed, UV can cause a range of damage to skin:

  • Freckles – Whilst most are not dangerous, they are still indicators of sun damage.
  • Sunburn – Sunburn is basically UV radiation burn. Minor burns can be treated at home with soothing cream and after sun. Serious burns that blister will need a trip to the hospital
  • Sallowness – a yellow discoloration of the skin
  • Skin cancer – whilst unlikely in children, long-term exposure can lead to risks in the future.

Any sunburn on a baby less than 12 months old should be treated as a medical emergency.

This sort of damage is almost completely avoidable by making sure your children are protected by utilising SPF technology.

It’s especially important for children to protect from UV because their skin is much more sensitive.

UV protection for babies

There is one key difference between UV swimwear and regular swimwear: UV protection. Certain UV wavelengths can penetrate regular clothing meaning they do not protect your baby extra protection will be required.

UV swimwear is also beneficial because they add extra protection when sunscreen wears off after a few hours or after a dip in a pool or sea.

When it comes to UV protection, you will want to look for the UPF rating.

What is UPF?

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. UPF indicates how much UV radiation is absorbed through the fabric.

A piece of UV swimwear that has a rating of 50 will only allow 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through. This is a significant layer of protection as the UPF rating does not fade as quickly as sunscreen.


SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It is often used as a way to rate sunscreens.

  • SPF measures the amount of time it takes for sun-exposed skin to redden and burn.
  • UPF measures the amount of UV that can penetrate a fabric and affect the skin beneath.

UV (UPF) swimwear vs. regular swimwear

UV swimwear is designed for sun protection and is made out of a fabric that is highly rated for its level of UV protection. It blocks out harmful UV rays by as much as 98% and can give your child the sun protection they need.

Regular swimwear does not possess the same protection levels against harmful UV rays. They provide next-to-no protection against sunlight. Sunscreen will need to be applied to the little ones on a regular basis in order to provide the same level of protection.

UV baby swimwear products

At Splash About we offer several products that can protect your baby from harmful UV rays.

Best for all round protection: UV Sun & Sea Wetsuit

Whether your kids want to swim or play in the sand, the UV Sun & Sea suit offers of full body-protection, whilst retaining comfort.

You will be able to spend all day at the seaside resting in the knowledge that your child is protection. Just don’t forget to put sunscreen on uncovered bits like face, hands and feet!

UV Sun & Sea Wetsuit

  • Soft material for sensitive skin
  • UPF 50+ sun protection (strongest rating)
  • Perfect for all day on the beach
  • Great for swimming
  • Super soft Nylon combined with flexible neoprene adds comfort
  • Easy to remove
  • Comes in 4 funky designs!

Available for boys and girls.


Chest HPS* to crotch Length

12–24 months (small)

50–54 cm

40–42 cm

60 cm

2–4 years (medium)

54–56 cm

42–44 cm

61 cm

4–6 years (large)

56–60 cm

44–46 cm

62 cm

Best protection while learning to swim: UV Sun Protection Float Suit

A great combo for children. The attached floats help them learn how to swim while the suit’s UV protection keeps them safe from the sun.

For more information about float suits, take a look at our guide to float suits.

UV Sun Protection Float Suit

  • Special buoyancy system keeps your child afloat and can be adjusted to suit any size
  • UPF 50+ (strongest rating)
  • Nylon Lycra fabric also protects against wind and sand
  • High-quality, durable fabric
  • Chlorine-resistant
  • Helps child maintain a natural swimming position while staying confident in water

Available for boys and girls.


Chest Length Weight

12–24 months (small)

42–52 cm

40 cm

11–15 kg

2–4 years (medium)

44–54 cm

41 cm

15–22 kg

4–6 years (large)

56–60 cm

43 cm

22–30 kg

Best for babies under 12 months old: UV All In One

Made out of soft, premium material, our UV All in One has a high neck, long legs and long sleeves to protect sensitive skin in the most vulnerable areas.

UV All In One

  • Perfect for little ones with sensitive skin
  • Won’t rub away or absorb eczema and barrier creams
  • UPF 50+ sun protection (strongest rating)
  • Easy to slip on and off
  • Protects sensitive skin from sand and wind

Available for boys and girls.


Chest HPS* to crotch

0–3 months (small)

49–53 cm

28–30 cm

3–6 months (medium)

52–54 cm

30–32 cm

6–12 months (large)

54–58 cm

32–35 cm

12–24 months (extra large)

59–64 cm

36–39 cm

*HPS = high point of shoulder

Related Content

Guide to Baby Wetsuits

Your complete guide to float suits

Your guide to swimming nappies