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Best Products For Protecting Kids Against Summer Sun

After a long and chilly winter across the United States, chances are your kids are more than thrilled to head out into the summer sun. But while playing outside and visiting the swimming pool are a big part of the dog days of summer, it's also important to keep your kids safe from the sun's harmful UV rays. Sun protection starts with good habits, and good habits are helped by having the right kind of products to protect your kids, even if they're just headed outside for a little while.
Protection from UV Rays starts with clothing
UV Clothing
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

In general, darker color, tightly-knit clothes do more to protect your child's delicate skin, but nowadays, there's even UV protective clothing. A variety of companies make beachwear designed specifically to protect kids, and unlike sunscreen, it doesn't need to be reapplied. One such company is Coolibar, which offers entire outfits -- from hats to shorts and pants -- that help protect your kids, starting at six months old. This kind of clothing offers UPF 50+ protection and blocks 98% of UVA and UVB rays. Other clothing products to look into include REI and Cabana Life.

Sun hats
Sun Hat
Photo Credit Thinkstock

If your kids will wear them, sun hats are another easy way to protect their fragile skin and head. Sun hats with a brim, including ones from Sunday Afternoons, are better at protecting your child from sun, as they protect their ears and neck, too. Plus, they're well ventilated, which means less sweat. Sunday Afternoons also offers some great hat options for parents, too.

Beach tents
Sun Beach Tent
Photo Credit Thinkstock

If you're headed to the beach, bring an umbrella, and for the little ones, have a fun "fort" with a pop-up tent. That way they won't constantly be in the sun, especially come mid-day when the sun's rays are the strongest. There's a plethora of tent options on the market, but if you're looking for something that fits more than just the kids (since it's important you protect yourself, too), check out OneStepAhead's tents, which offer protection as well as plenty of ventilation.

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Since kids will be kids, and they'll want to run around in the sun, sunscreen is a must. Apply it 30 minutes before heading out into the sun, and reapply according to the particularly sunscreen's instructions. As for which sunscreen to use, there are a lot of kid-friendly options on the market today, but it's important to pay attention to what's in the sunscreen; there should be no oxibenzone or aerosols, and it should be paraben-free.

One popular sunscreen that parents love to use is Thinkbaby. "It gives a slight white tint like the old-school zinc sunscreen, but that way I know where I've put it on, which can be hard to keep track of with two toddlers," says Jenna Swiecki, a mother living in San Diego. "I also use it on my face and it doesn't feel greasy or make me break-out." To see which products are best for your kids, and the most recommended, visit EWG, an environmental organization that spreads awareness about toxic chemicals that can be found in many products.

Good sun habits start with you! Prevent sunburn and keep summer fun by stocking up on an assortment of sun protection products and gear.

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she's working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at

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