7 Best Toddler Beach Cover-Ups of 2021

Sunscreen? Check. Sand toys? Check. Diapers? Check. Snacks? Check. You’re ready for the beach! 

WAIT. There’s one more thing. 

When your toddler is navigating how to stand in the sand, their delicate skin needs more than sunscreen; it needs to be covered. Finding a cover-up for your little one can be the perfect solution. They’re more than just a fashion item for the pool or beach; they’re a necessity to shield your child’s skin.

There are short cover-ups, long ones, ones with hoods that look like sharks, ones with zippers, adorable ones with cinched waists, and we’ve looked at them all! 

Check out our toddler cover-up review, so you know exactly what will work best for you and your child.

We’ll look at the different materials used, explore the crucial differences in a toddler’s skin, and surf by other options that provide additional protection.

So, grab your sunglasses and read through our guide to the best toddler beach cover-ups that are getting top marks from parents, just like you.

(You might also be interested in reading Best Toddler Beach Robes)

The Best Toddler Beach Cover-Ups (Top Picks)

These are the cover-ups getting rave reviews. We’ve listed them by number but remember; the numbers are not a ranking – because they’re all winners.

1.  Whale Baby Beach Cover-Up

Sporting a fun seaside design, this ultra-cozy beach hoodie would be mine if I could fit into it!

Available in two sizes: 6 to 12 months and 12 to 18 months, this comfy cover-up has received the highest UPF rating, making it the ultimate material for sun protection.

A tight weave keeps the cotton soft next to the skin, while the mix of 20% polyester helps to maintain the cover-ups shape and allows it to be breathable and flexible. 

The global standard Oeko-Tex certification lets you rest easy knowing the fabric is free of harmful chemicals with environmentally-safe yarn dyes.

Pros

  • Made of absorbent, warm and soft terry cloth
  • Reversible hat and diaper set available with matching design.
  • Has sleeves (not just open)
  • UPF 50+ coverage
  • Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification

Cons

  • It could be hard to slip on if your toddler is wet or getting wiggly.
  • Only available in 2 sizes
  • It could be too warm in very hot or humid weather.
  • Slightly more expensive

2. Baba & Bear Hooded Towel Cover-Up for Beach, Pool

Available in either shark or rainbow prints, this open-sided cover-up keeps your children’s arms free to play while also keeping them safe.

Made with velour-cotton, this super-plush cover-up still looks new after many, many washes. The one-size design works for children from ages 2 to 7, so no need to carry different sizes for smaller children.

Absorbent material helps dry your toddler quickly and is a great cover in public when a bathing suit change is needed.

Being able to pop this cover-up over your toddler’s head means one less thing that you have to carry, and the poncho style helps keep it in place. 

Pros

  • Open sides to fit children as they grow.
  • Oeko-Tex certified
  • Thick and absorbent
  • Family-owned business

Cons

  • Made in only one size
  • Smaller head opening
  • Can feel too short for older or taller children
  • Only two prints to choose from

3. RuffleButts Toddler Terry Cloth Hoodie Swim Beach Cover-Up

This medium-weight cover-up is available in nautical stripes or solid colors, and you can get it monogrammed with your child’s initials. 

Sizes range from 3 months to 8 years; the cinched waist helps to keep this cover-up perfectly in place. Made with a soft, absorbent material, this towel-like material is still light enough to be worn on hot days.

The same company, RuffleButts, also has a non-cinched option and a smock dress cover-up design, all made with the same soft and durable material.

Pros

  • Fitted
  • Variety of sizes
  • Family business
  • Lined hood to help dry wet hair

Cons

  • Sizing can run small.
  • Smaller children might not be able to pull it off on their own
  • Stitching on the bow can come loose.

4. KMBANGI Toddler Girls Cotton Linen Beach Dress Swimsuit Cover-up

A lighter, airy cotton-linen blend makes this an ideal cover-up for hot and humid days. The eye-catching flamingo or cactus pattern is accentuated with pompom tassels down the side and popping colors.

Pop this over your toddler’s head, and the draw-string waist helps to keep this cover-up in place. It’s available in 5 sizes, from 6 months to 5T, and is a great way to protect skin between swims.

Pros

  • Lighter material
  • Variety of sizes
  • Great design

Cons

  • Lighter material can stick to wet skin at first.
  • You must pull it on over the head.
  • Sizing runs small

5. Hooded Loop-Terry Swim Cover-Up for Toddler

Another cover-up in the ‘That Was Easy’ category is this hooded zip-up front design. Easier than pulling it on over their head, this short-sleeved cover-up zips up for a close and safe fit that’s easy to put on and take off.

This cover-up’s solid color makes it a versatile option for either the beach, the pool, or the bathtub. Toddlers may not get as excited about pockets as we do, but this cover-up has them!

Consisting of super soft towel material, it’s a medium weight that shouldn’t feel too heavy on hot days. It’s durable and won’t take too long to dry.

Pros

  • A soft and absorbent material
  • Easy zip-up closure
  • Has pockets
  • True to size

Cons

  • Will need to size up as the child grows
  • Full-zip can be hard on a wiggling toddler who wants to sit down
  • Slightly thinner material

6. VOOVA & MOVAS Beach Bath Towel with Hood for Toddlers

As fast as swinging a towel around their shoulders, many parents find this wrap design the easiest for quickly warming up a chilly child. 

There are snaps at the neck to convert it to a poncho covering, which helps keep the cover-up in place, and a hood to help dry their hair.

The open design at the front makes accessing a wet bathing suit easier for quick changes and will keep its vibrancy and shape after multiple washes. Lots of different patterns are available, as well as slip over designs.

Pros

  • Made of 100% Cotton
  • Absorbent and soft
  • Great patterns for toddlers
  • Washes well

Cons

  • May not stay on as easily due to open front
  • Open front design can leave skin exposed to the sun
  • Thinner material, not suitable for chilly days
  • Smaller hood may have trouble over lots of hair

7. Disney Frozen Cover-Up

Cover-ups with characters from whatever movie is currently on repeat in your house will no doubt be a big hit. Has there been a bigger hit than Frozen? No. Let it go. Embrace it.

This cover-up actually echoes Anna and Elsa’s gowns with its empire waist and snowflake design. The inside of the hood is lined with material featuring the famous sisters, and a small rubber snowflake pull attached to the zipper makes this an easy cover-up to put on and take off.

Even though Anna and Elsa are snow-bound, your child will be protected from the sun with this UPF 50+ certified fabric and protected from chattering teeth with the soft, absorbent towel material.

Pros

  • Easy on and off
  • True to size
  • Matching products available from Frozen Swim Collection

Cons

  • Personalization not available
  • Your child’s next favorite movie may change their preference.
  • It doesn’t provide full protection for arms due to short sleeves.

The Best Toddler Beach Cover-Ups Buyer’s Guide (Making the Best Purchase!)

Before deciding on one of the amazing choices above, there are a few things you should consider before making a final decision. 

Knowing what to look for when purchasing the best toddler beach cover-up is a detrimental factor that could effect the safety of your child. 

Let’s take a look at some key elements to consider when purchasing a beach cover-up for your toddler.

Your Toddler’s Skin

Studies show that until the age of two, a toddler’s skin (like their bones) is still developing and can be harmed quickly by over-exposure to the sun’s rays, much faster than adults. 

Those cute freckles on your arm or nose are likely sun damage that happened when you were a child, running around wild and free. Most sun damage occurs in the first 18 years of our life, and we carry the effect of every sunny beach day with us, always. 

Melanin is a pigment found in your skin, eyes, hair, and even brain. This powerhouse pigment will darken as it absorbs UV light (tanning 101) but can only do so much to protect from damage.

In young children, the melanin in their skin has not fully developed, making them susceptible to painful sunburns. But, damage at this stage of life can also lead to skin cancer, such as melanoma, later in life.

Things to Remember:

  • Sun can damage all skin colors
  • Skin can still get damaged by UV rays on cloudy days
  • UV rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm
  • Blocking skin completely from direct sunlight is the best protection.
  • Using sunscreen on exposed skin is the next best option.

Sunscreen should be an everyday item now – for your child and for your own skin. But on those hot summer days at the beach, sunscreen is essential for any skin exposed to the sun.

However, sunscreen (even if waterproof) will likely wash off after a swim or will need reapplying. Being able to throw a cover-up over your child quickly will help to protect them immediately.

Other Sun Protection

Beyond sunscreen for your toddler, some other sun protection items you might want to add to your list are:

  • Sunglasses, especially with an elastic band to help keep them on
  • Hats, with a long section in the back to cover the neck too
  • Wetsuits to keep children warmer in water than traditional swimsuits
  • Beach tents provide shade and UV protection.
  • Spray bottle which will help cool them down but also helps to get sand off too.

(We also have our top pickups for Best Toddler Beach Hats and Best Baby Beach Tents)

Cover-Ups: Materials

Cover-ups made of 100% cotton toweling, like terry cloth, will be the most absorbent and the coziest option. 

This is a great choice if you’re not changing your toddler out of their swimsuit right away but need it to dry quickly. It will also feel lovely and warm immediately and will help banish the chills.

Keep in mind – this material may be too warm of an option on very hot or humid days. Heat rash can happen when a child’s skin gets overheated. This is more likely to happen with something tighter fitting, but the ultra-plush options will be a heavier weight material. 

They can pick up a bit of sand, too, so it will need to be brushed off to keep too much of the beach coming home with you.

Alternatively, you might choose a lighter material like linen or wide-weaved cotton. These are great for sweltering weather and a nice addition to throw over a bathing suit. However, this fabric is unlikely to be UPF 50+ and will not block out all the harmful UV rays.

In terms of length, you want it to be long enough to keep them warm and provide protection, but not so long they trip over it. Decisions, decisions!

Best Toddler Beach Cover-Ups Comparison Chart

ProductPriceFabric MaterialAgeUnique Features
Whale Baby Beach Cover-Up$Cotton/Polyester6 - 18 monthsMade of absorbent, warm, has sleeves, upto 50+ coverage
Baba & Bear Hooded Towel Cover-Up for Beach, Pool$$$Velour Cotton2 - 7 yearsThick and absorbent, has open sides to fit children as they grow
RuffleButts Toddler Terry Cloth Hoodie Swim Beach Cover-Up$Soft and Cozy 3 months - 8 yearsFitted, variety of sizes, family business
KMBANGI Toddler Girls Cotton Linen Beach Dress Swimsuit Cover-up$Cotton Linen6 months to upLighter, material, variety of sizes, great designs
Hooded Loop-Terry Swim Cover-Up for Toddler$Cotton/PolyesterToddlers girlsEasy zip up closure, has pockets, true to size
VOOVA & MOVAS Beach Bath Towel with Hood for Toddlers$Cotton2 - 7 yearsAbsorbent and soft, washes well
Disney Frozen Cover-Up$Cotton/Polyester3 - 4 yearsEasy on and off, true to size

Wrap Up

Whether you go for one of the cover-ups reviewed here or decide upon something else to protect your little one, anything that covers your child’s delicate skin is what needs to be added to your Beach Bring list.

Choose something easy to get on your squirming toddler, something they want to wear, and something that dries them quickly and keeps them protected from the sun while they’re running around.

Embarking on a Beach Day with your toddler can feel overwhelming, so make things as easy for yourself as you can. Many parents have put together Beach Lists that you can consult. And bringing a cover-up, especially in place of a towel, is one more thing to make life a little easier.

Now, you have time to look for your sunglasses. 

They’re on your head. 

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