10 Best Kids' Rash Vests And Sun Protection Clothing

Alice Carlill
Dec 22, 2023 By Alice Carlill
Originally Published on Jul 05, 2021
Best Kids' Rash Vests And Sun Protection Clothing.
Age: 0-16
Read time: 6.5 Min

If you have kids who love splashing about in the water, and need a bit of extra protection or warmth, then we've got the list of 12 best kids' rash vests for you.

Rash guards serve multiple purposes. They provide extra sun protection, and frequently have extremely high UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) sun ratings, meaning that they reduce the amount of UV rays to which your kids will be exposed.

They can also provide extra warmth under wetsuits if your family are braving the chilly British seas in winter seasons: thermal ones are particularly good at sealing in body heat and prolonging your kids' time in the water.

Rash vests are also great to wear as standalone items when swimming in spring, when waters haven't quite warmed up from chilly winters, but wetsuits seem too bulky.

Kids should typically wear a swimsuit under a rash guard, and the vest should be close-fitting. They're also designed to help prevent any rubbing or chafing that wetsuits may cause, especially around the neck: that's why they're called 'rash' vests, because they help reduce the risk of a rash.

Basically, they help your kids get on with swimming, surfing, stand up paddle-boarding, kayaking, or whatever other water sport they're keen on, with less fuss, more warmth, and extra UV protection.

Don't forget to check out our list of the best kids' wetsuits and baby wetsuits too, so that your family are ready to get active whatever the weather!

Kidadl's Top Pick

We love all of the rash vests on this list, but if you are short on time this is our top pick based on its lightweight design, comfortable flat seams and cute colour options that kids will love.

1. Mountain Warehouse Short Sleeved Kids Rash Vest‍

Mountain Warehouse Short Sleeved Kids Rash Vest.

Practical but lightweight, this fabric has a UPF50+ protection rate and is super quick drying, making it perfect for holiday wear and tear, and easy washing. Flat seams means it sits comfortably under wetsuits without digging in, and it comes in ten different colour options. Ticks all the boxes for a perfect rash vest for kids.

Main Features

  • Price: £19.99
  • Ages: 2 -13 years

Best For Families On A Budget

2. Decathlon Jr UV Water T-Shirt‍

Decathlon Jr UV Water T-Shirt.

You'd be hard pressed to find kids' rash vests at a more budget price. This short sleeve t-shirt offers UPF50+ sun protection, its textile mesh helps to prevent sand from getting stuck, and its looser cut makes it easier to get on and off.

It reduces chafing, and there's a loop feature at the shirt's front to connect the vest with board shorts.

Main Features

  • Price: £2.99
  • Ages: 4 - 14 years

Best For Early Years

3. Splash About Unisex Baby UV All-In-One Sunsuit‍

Splash About Unisex Baby UV All-In-One Sunsuit.

Looking for a toddler rash vest? Splash About are one of the premium brands for baby and toddler swimwear, and their kids rash vests and suits, like the one we've selected here, are similarly great quality.

They're UV protection clothing, offering UPF50+ sun protection for delicate skin. The fabric is lightweight but comfortable, offering further protection from wind and sand, and it's easy to clean. Plus, look at all of the fabulous colour options and designs!

Main Features

  • Price: From £16.50
  • Ages: 0 months - 2 years

Best For Under 5s

4. Splash About Short Sleeve Rash Top Under The Sea‍

Splash About Short Sleeve Rash Top Under The Sea.

We've gone for more Splash About kids' rash vests, that's how confident we are in their quality. We love this under the sea print for its nautical features, and the fact that it would work well on both boys and girls.

Vests offer UPF50+ sun protection, and are lightweight and comfortable. Check out the 'bundles' that Splash About offer, too, where you can purchase a rash vest alongside other items from the brand, including swimsuits, board shorts, and their Splash Jammers.

Main Features

  • Price: From £15.99
  • Ages: 1 - 4 years

Best For Under 10s

5. Mini Boden Long-Sleeved Rash Vest‍

Mini Boden Long-Sleeved Rash Vest.

Did someone say snazzy? This zebra printed rash vest is UV clothing (it has UPF40+ sun protection), works for both girls and boys, and is machine washable (just don't tumble dry it). Plus, Boden is one of our favourite brands for delivering fabulous but functional kids' clothing.

Main Features

  • Price: From £18
  • Ages: 2 - 9 years

Best For Tweens

6. O'Neill Premium Long Sleeve Skins Youth‍

O'Neill Premium Long Sleeve Skins Youth.

Sleek styles, four way stretch, and quick dry properties place this rash vest up amongst the best. Great as a unisex option, it has UPF50+ sun protection and a performance fit, thanks to the flat-lock stitches and ergonomic under sleeve panel that works to reduce rashes and allow for flexible movement.

Your kids can hit the waves without worrying about discomfort.

Main Features

  • Price: £24.95
  • Ages: 6 - 16

Best For Winter

7. Two Bare Feet Kids UV50 Thermal Rash Vest Long Sleeve‍

Two Bare Feet Kids UV50 Thermal Rash Vest Long Sleeve.

A kids' thermal rash vest helps them stay warmer for longer thanks to the internal fleece lining. This retains body heat so that your clan can hit the water without shivering.

Quality lycra construction still allows for freedom of movement, it's super quick-drying, and still has a UPF factor of 50+. Two Bare Feet is another one of our favourite brands, so you can be sure that their products are effective.

Main Features

  • Price: £14.99
  • Ages: Sizes run from XXS to 3XL

Best Sustainable Kids' Rash Suits

8. Mini Boden Natural World Surf Suit‍

Mini Boden Natural World Surf Suit.

Perfect for smaller tots, this surf suit is crafted from recycled nylon that has been regenerated from old fishing nets and fabric scraps, meaning that parents trying to reduce their environmental impact are sure to love this option. It still provides UPF50+ sun protection, and is machine washable, with a zip down the back for easy changing.

Plus, we love the pattern with animals, dinosaurs, rainbows and flowers, a fun mixture of everything kids love.

Main Features

  • Price: £28
  • Ages: 3 months - 4 years

Best Rash Set For Boys

9. Mini Boden Fun Rash Vest Set‍

Mini Boden Fun Rash Vest Set.

Who says rash vests for boys can't be colourful? We love the rainbow print on the top, and the shorts are lined but still provide enough space for a swim nappy, making them a great choice for younger kids.

There's a sun protection factor of UPF50+ to keep kids safe and protected from the sun's rays.

It is also machine washable which is a big win for busy parents. Finally, the cute cloud and rainbow design on the front makes this an adorable choice, we're sure it will chase any clouds away.

Main Features

  • Price: £26
  • Ages: 3 months - 4 years

Best Star Wars Rash Vest

10. Speedo Junior Star Wars Rash Top‍

Speedo Junior Star Wars Rash Top.

A Star Wars printed rash vest? What's not to love! Speedo is a great brand, too, so you can rest assured your kids are defending the galaxy in quality kit from one of the most trusted brands.

Short sleeve, it still provides UPF50+ sun protection, and has a higher chlorine resistance than standard swimwear thanks to Speedo's innovative CREORA® HighClo™ technology. The fabric is stretchy and flexible, allowing for paddling, butterfly, freestyle without restrictions. Rebels assemble!

Main Features

  • Price: £30
  • Ages: 5 - 16 years

Kidadl Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families of all ages.

If you liked our suggestions for the best kids' rash vests then why not take a look at our top pick of the best beach towels for kids, or for something different but still suitable for outdoor action, check out our recommendations for the best walking boots that kids will love.

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Written by Alice Carlill

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Alice Carlill picture

Alice CarlillBachelor of Arts specializing in English

With a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Cambridge, Alice is passionate about all things art, literature, and culture. She has written a short collection of poems and continues to edit scripts for theater, TV, and film. Alice grew up in London and now resides there, but her favorite places are by the sea or somewhere cozy with her five dogs. She also has two younger sisters who keep her on her toes.

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