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10 Tips for Dressing Your Toddler in the Summer


Summer days bring warmth, sunshine, and plenty of opportunities to play. Through it all you want to make sure your little one is both comfy and protected. We've got some great ways to get that tiny, summer lovin' person ready for it all.

1. Choose Cotton Fabrics

a pile of cotton clothes

On summer's toastiest days, your toddler (and everyone else!) is at risk of overheating. To help keep your little one cool, choose loose-fitting clothing made of 100% cotton. Lightweight cotton allows air to reach the body and lets sweat evaporate, preventing irritation and cooling the skin. We love the super soft basics from made from 100% pima cotton. They come in fun, collectible colors at prices that make stocking up easy.

2. Lighten Up

two pairs of feet standing on sand

Hot weather calls for simple, easy outfits with a minimum of layers. Lose the onesie under your toddler’s shorts and tees to cool things down. For little girls, a simple sleeveless knit dress makes getting dressed a breeze. Little boys look casual and cool in easy pull-on shorts and soft jersey polo shirts or tees.

3. Layer On the Sunblock

a little girl with sunscreen on her face

Though it can be challenging to appl sunscreen to a wriggly toddler, don't skip it—studies show that early-in-life sunburns can make the skin more vulnerable to skin cancer later in life. Physical barrier sunscreens, which use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to block out harmful rays, are preferred by many experts over chemical sunscreens; they do a better job at protecting against both UVA and UVB rays, plus they begin working immediately. Be generous in your application — experts recommend a nickel-sized amount for the face alone. Make up a song, make it a game, just make sure to get it on and reapply often.

4. Embrace their Nudist Streak

a little girl smiling at the camera

Most toddlers go through an anti-clothes phase—'tis the season to indulge them if you dare! If you're kicking it at home for the day, there's no reason your little one needs to wear more than a diaper or onesie when you're trying to beat the heat. Or let them hang out in a private, outdoor space in shade or while fully sun blocked (and remember to tick-check afterward!).

5. Go For Sun-Blocking Clothes

a baby wearing a hat outside in the sun

When you're outside and exposed for longer periods, make your little one's clothes work overtime by choosing clothes that contain sun protection, called UPF. A shirt rated UPF 15 will allow only 1/15th of the sun's rays to pass through it; choose clothing with a higher UPF rating to block out even more harmful rays. You can also wash added sunscreen right into fabrics with a special sun-blocking detergent.

6. Include a Hat

Sun hats are a great way to protect your little one's face, scalp, neck, and ears (especially if applying sunscreen to their faces proves impossible). Look for one with a chin strap and an over-sized brim, made of lightweight cotton with UPF protection. The brand i play makes one that checks all the boxes and comes in almost two dozen fun colors.

7. Try Sunglasses

a little girl wearing a hat and sunglasses

It's never too early to sport sunglasses, which can help protect eyes from. Choose a pair that blocks 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. If your little one won't keep them on, try adding an elastic band, and be a good role model by always wearing your sunglasses when you're outside.

Check out these Baby Bans from Amazon.

8. Pick Smart Sandals

a toddler's shoe

Your tiny new walker has tender feet and a yearning to explore. A waterproof sandal with a flexible sole and quick-drying fabric is a must-have. We're partial to this unisex pair by Keen, which comes in a couple of dozen colors and won't fall apart, giving them great hand-me-down potential.

Check them out on Amazon.

9. Prepare for the Pool

a child playing in the sand at the beach

With the sun's rays being more intense around water, it's important to keep your toddler's skin covered when you're at the pool or beach. Top off a swimsuit with a long-sleeved rash guard to protect your toddler's torso and arms. Rash guards are made of fast-drying fabrics and are available with built-in UV protection for extra coverage.

And don't forget the swim diaper!

10.Pick the Perfect Pajamas

a young girl sleeping

What your cutie wears to bed in the summer will depend greatly on the temperature of your house. If you keep the A/C on at full blast all night, short-sleeve cotton pajamas and a lightweight blanket or two are probably the right choice. If your house tends to be muggy or if your little one runs warm when he sleeps, a onesie and a light sheet might be enough.

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