As an Arizona family, we spend long and lovely days in the outdoors.
With 280+ days of sunshine every year, we can hike, bike, swim, run, and wander almost all year-round. As a result, sun protection is critical. Layering and long sleeves means less risk of sunburn and skin cancer - not to mention the fact that you'll need to slather far less sunscreen on your kids! In bigger families, applying sunscreen can be a herculean effort (and expensive too!). Below you will find some of the top brands in the sun protection industry and some of our favorite picks from each.
The best time to shop for sun protective clothing and swimwear is right after the summer season ends (aka right about now!). Stock up for the whole family by buying one size up. You'll be all set for next summer instead of scrambling for new suits when the prices are sky-high!
Everything at Coolibar is UPF 50+. Their proprietary fabrics block 98% of UVA/UVB rays. Compare that to a cotton t-shirt, which only blocks about 3% of UV rays when wet.
Worried about the extra heat you may feel by wearing long-sleeves? Don't be! Coolibar has this to say, "It may seem counter-intuitive, but the reality is you’ll feel cooler with long sleeves. Sleeves allow your skin to perspire, then wick moisture away. They also keep the sun from beating down and burning you. Researchers studied the Bedouins who wear heavy black robes in the unrelenting desert sun and found their heat gain was actually a loss. They stayed cooler."
Coolibar offers sun protective clothing and swimwear for the whole family - men, women, and kids. Their line includes swim shirts, rash guards, beach cover-ups, swim tights, umbrellas, and a wide selection of sun hats.
While not specifically a sun protection company, JoJo Maman Bebe offers great swim one-piece suits for toddlers and preschoolers (through age 6). In addition to wet suits and sun protection suits (both 1-piece and 2-piece), JoJo Maman Bebe offers traditional swimsuits, swim diapers, clothing, toys, and accessories for young children. Their line is "inspired by French nautical themes combined with quirky British design." If you live in Connecticut or New Jersey, you can shop at a brick-and-mortar store. Otherwise, you'll need to do your shopping online.
Based in New Jersey, Snapper Rock offers swimwear with an Ultra Violet Protection Factor of 50+ (which blocks 98% of harmful rays). This brand has stylish swimwear for the whole family (men, women, and children) including rash tops, classic swimwear, surf leggings, sunsuits, board shorts, and sunglasses. There are also matching father + son swim trunks.
If your child has ever been on swim team, you are undoubtedly familiar with the Speedo brand. They offer recreational and competitive swimwear and accessories at a variety of price points. This is our go-to brand for one-piece sport suits, as well as goggles. We especially love the Vanquisher goggles for adults and kids. It's worth it to spend a little more for goggles that last longer, have better performance, and don't leak.
One of the smartest things we did this past summer was to get water shoes for almost every member of our family. Water shoes are especially great for camping trips as well as for swimming in public places (public pools, swim team, resorts, etc).
Enjoy the rest of your summer!