When you shop through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

How to Dress Your Baby in the Summer

Medically Reviewed by Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN
Top tips to keep your baby comfortable and safe during the summer heat.

Do you find yourself wondering how best to dress your baby during the hotter summer months? It’s a tricky business, especially with the issues we parents must contend with including safety, comfort, and more.

Dressing your baby in the heat is pretty simple once you’ve got the basics down, and if you base your baby’s clothes off your own, you can’t go wrong. With your baby’s comfort being a priority, below are some key ideas to get you started.

By the Water: Beach or Poolside

This can be such a fun way to entertain your baby and introduce them to a new experience. Sharing such moments with them is what makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Nonetheless, there are ways you can get the most from your day out while keeping your baby safe and comfortable.

General Wear for Waterside Activities

Other than the essentials, such as a towel and sun hat, we recommend a few sets of extra clothes. Linen is a popular choice for many, due to its breathability in the warmer weather — it’s also durable and can withstand all your baby’s mess.

Going Swimming

Swimming is a fantastic way to get your baby accustomed to the water for later development. Swimming suits or wetsuits are a must for making the most of a trip to the beach. There are so many options online, such as this Cheekaaboo one-piece, with loads of great designs, so take your pick.

Product Image of the Warmiebabes-Baby, Toddler Thermal One Piece Kid Neoprene Swimwear, 6-12 Months,...

It’s also important to bring along some swim diapers, which you can purchase from most supermarkets. Some details to look for include:

  • Stretchy, with adjustable sides for a great fit.
  • The leak guard prevents accidents from spilling out.
  • Easy disposal for hygiene.
  • Minimal water absorption to prevent heaviness.
Product Image of the Huggies Little Swimmers Disposable Swim Diapers, X-Small (7lb-18lb.), 12-Count

High-quality swim diapers will help with your baby’s comfort as they won’t become completely saturated when swimming as a normal diaper would. They’ll also ease mom and dad’s clean-up duties later on. Who doesn’t love less mess?

If your baby can walk already, it might also be a good idea to invest in some water shoes. These are a great way to prevent tiny toes from burning in the sand or while on concrete. What’s more, they can protect your little one from sharp pebbles and stones.

Of course, splashing around in the water is always fun, but don’t forget it’s paramount to make sure your baby is safe. Proper flotation devices,  armbands and floaty rings for example, are ideal to put your mind at ease.


Even if your baby or child is wearing a flotation device, you should never leave them unsupervised in, or near, water, not even for a few seconds.
You Might Also Like
Baby boy wearing a life jacket playing in the ocean water7 Best Life Jackets for Infants and Toddlers (2022 Reviews)

Sun Protection

Your baby’s skin is delicate and sensitive, so it’s important to protect it from the harsh rays of the sun. One great way to do this is to take a small umbrella with you to prop over them while relaxing on the sand or poolside. You should also bring your baby’s sun hat along, preferably one with a back flap to cover that little neck.

Product Image of the i play. Baby Flap Sun Protection Swim Hat, White, 9-18 Months

Sun lotion is an essential item and should ideally be applied every two hours and always after being in the water. Be warned though, that there are some lotions which experts praise and others urge you to avoid (1). Some of the best things to look for are:

  • Protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Preferably SPF 30 or higher.
  • Easy to apply with a secure cap.
  • “Chemical-free” or “physical” formulas — look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Water-resistant is also handy, but remember to reapply after water activities.

It’s important to get the best from the products you spend your hard-earned money on. By doing a little research and taking precautions, you can rest easy.

Out and About

Taking your baby out for a walk is sometimes the only way to get them to sleep. Just because they’re not poolside or at the beach, doesn’t mean they don’t need sunscreen, so put on a layer just in case — unless it’s night time, of course!

Dress your little one in some shorts and a cotton T-shirt for breathability.

If your stroller has a little pouch attached to it for your baby’s feet, remove this on the extra hot days. Replace it with a simple, thin blanket or sheet to accommodate your baby’s comfort while also avoiding the risk of overheating.

Product Image of the Stroller Sun Cover (6m+) | UV Sun and Sleep Shade for Baby Strollers & Joggers |...

Most strollers will have detachable sun covers you can use depending on the weather.

It may also be wise to think about what shoes your little one should wear if they’re already mobile. Shoes are important for everyday use once your baby is walking, but they can often be restricting. Younger babies will likely be happier with bare feet.

A human’s feet regulate heat, so allowing them to breathe is essential, especially during the summer months. Therefore, it might be good to purchase a pair of comfortable sandals. This way you can keep their feet cool but still safe from harm.

Similar Articles
Mother holding up her baby outsideThe Best Baby Rompers and Bodysuits for Easy Diaper Changes

Sleeping Attire

A good night’s sleep for baby will definitely make your life a whole lot easier, so keeping baby comfortable during naptime and bedtime is essential. Here are a few tips to make sure they’re at ease when it’s time to nod off:

Ensure the air conditioning/electric fan is turned on. Make sure to check if the room is a comfortable temperature (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit). This will stop your baby from overheating or from getting too cold.

Avoid heavy sleepwear. The usual long-sleeved and long-trousered onesie is a staple in any baby’s pajama drawer. That being said, if it’s made from thick material, especially a footed option, it may retain too much heat.

Instead, consider lightweight onesies without feet or a sleeping pouch that allows for more breathability.

Product Image of the ergoPouch 0.2 tog Cocoon Swaddle Bag- 2 in 1 Swaddle Transitions into arms Free...

Young babies can’t properly regulate their own body temperatures. They can easily overheat causing heat rash, dehydration, heat exhaustion or heatstroke. To avoid this, double-check that they’re not sweaty or too hot in their sleep attire.

More On This Topic
Baby being swaddled in summerCan You Swaddle In Summer? (Risks & Precautions)

Cooler Days

Sadly, the sun doesn’t last forever and the weather can sometimes change in an instant. It’s best to remain prepared for any situation by remembering to pack thin blankets and a light jacket.

You should also bring the stroller cover with you, just in case an unfortunate downpour occurs. If you live in a climate where summer rains are common, you may want to invest in a full-on weather shield for your stroller to keep your little one dry on walks.

Product Image of the Bemece Stroller Rain Cover , Universal Stroller Accessory, Baby Travel Weather...

Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a family evening out, even when the weather isn’t ideal. Having your gear means you won’t have to stay huddled up indoors or cut an outing short.

Your Questions Answered

What if the Weather Takes a Turn Toward Extreme Heat?

The most important thing is to simply avoid over-dressing your baby. Again, if you feel too hot in your own shorts and T-shirt, then your baby is probably feeling the same. In general, keeping your baby in shaded areas and maintaining good hydration is the best solution.

Otherwise, when inside, get some electric fans or air conditioning buzzing throughout the house. Try giving yourself and baby a couple of lukewarm showers or baths throughout the day. This should ease you both, and have your babe feeling fresh in no time.

Should I Keep My Baby out of the Sun Completely?

Generally, if your baby is younger than six months, it’s best to avoid the sun during midday (10am–4pm). If your baby is older or crawling/walking, it’s good to allow them outside for a few hours a day. Just make sure they’re covered in sunscreen, and are wearing a hat and loose clothes (2).

What Are the Signs of Overheating?

It’s difficult to know exactly how your baby’s feeling, as they lack the basic communication skills we learn later in life. But here are a few signs you could watch out for:

  • Hot to the touch.
  • Heat rash and/or red cheeks.
  • Sweating a lot.
  • Acting weak and tired.
  • General irritability.

If you notice your baby is suffering from any of these crucial signs, make sure to do the following:

  • Undress them.
  • Pat them down with a cool, damp cloth.
  • Give them small sips of water.

However, if these signs don’t improve over time, your baby might be suffering from heat exhaustion. If so, make sure to contact your baby’s health provider (3).

What if There’s No Shade Available?

Be prepared for everything by packing a little parasol or a sunhat.

Other than this, ensure to dress your baby in lightweight clothes as mentioned above. Breathable fabrics, like cotton, work well in such scenarios. And make sure baby is kept hydrated, by having plenty of drinks readily available.

When Should I Apply My Baby’s Sunscreen?

Thirty minutes before venturing outdoors is the perfect amount of time to let all that UV protection properly soak in. Safety first.

How Can I Protect My Baby From Bug Bites?

We’ve all experienced the itchiness of a bite, and it must be particularly awful for babies who don’t know what’s happening to them. Therefore, wearing thin, high-coverage clothing in known areas of infestation is a must.

If covering your baby’s limbs in the heat is not an option, you can use baby-friendly bug spray. For example, natural bug sprays are a great way to gain additional protection from nasty critters, but may need more frequent reapplication.

Additionally, mosquito repellent stickers are an option and your toddler might actually enjoy them while you’re at it. No fighting the spray bottle with this one!

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Headshot of Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Medically Reviewed by

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN is an oncology nurse navigator and freelance medical writer. Mary has 4 years of experience as an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps. including emergency/trauma, post-anesthesia, and deployment medicine.