How To Provide Shade for Your Baby at the Beach


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Having good, protective shade for your baby at the beach is probably the most important thing that you can do. Because they are so young, their skin is extra sensitive to the effects of the sun. You will want to use something that will give them shade, ventilation, and comfort, while also being durable and easy to transport. 

Why You Need Some Sort of Shade for Your Baby When at the Beach

Everyone needs to be protected from sun exposure, but this is especially important for babies. Too much exposure to UV rays can cause damage to the skin, the eyes, and can even cause skin cancer. These risks are especially high with babies. Babies take longer to form melanin, which protects their skin from the sun. Infants under the age of 6 months do not have any melanin yet, so protection from the sun is extra important. Baby skin is very delicate and thin. Keep this in mind when you are planning your beach trip, and make sure that you have everything that you need to keep them safe from the sun, including a reliable source of shade. 

There are different sun protection guidelines for different ages. Children 0-6 months should be kept completely out of direct sunlight. They cannot wear sunscreen yet because their skin cannot excrete chemicals, so good shade is extra important for children this age. 

Children from 6-12 months can now wear sunscreen, but still, need extra protection from the sun. It is important to make sure that they still have protective shade, as well. If you have more than one child, you’ll want something that will shade both children.

How Do You Shade a Baby at the Beach?

There are many different ways to shade a baby at the beach, but the safest way is to use a portable beach tent. They make these tents, especially with infants in mind, so many important aspects have already been taken into consideration. You also want to make sure that you have taken other sun safety steps besides just the shade. Your baby should be in thin, breathable clothing that also has UV protection. They should also have a sun hat and protective sunglasses if they will wear them. Sunscreen is also very important if your child is old enough to wear it.  You will want to keep them out of the sun (both directly and indirectly) and make sure that their space is well ventilated so they do not overheat.

Umbrella vs. Baby Tents vs. Beach Canopies 

Beach umbrellas, baby tents, and beach canopies are all 3 options that come to mind when you think of shade for your baby on the beach, but they all have different effects on the baby and their skin, and all have their pros and cons. An umbrella is not the best option to shade a baby. They are often flimsy and frequently need to be readjusted due to the strong winds on the beach. They also do not protect your child from wind, heat, or from indirect sunlight. Because of these factors, baby tents and beach canopies are much better options to shade your baby on the beach than an umbrella. If you do use an umbrella, it should be in addition to a more protective sunshade. 

Beach canopies are a better choice than a beach umbrella to shade your child on the beach. They are more stable than a beach umbrella and offer more overhead coverage. One downfall of the canopies is the tall, open sides. Sun can come in indirectly through the sides, and wind gusts can come through, as well. These are essentially just studier versions of an umbrella and do not provide the amount of shade and protection that your child needs. Like an umbrella, a beach canopy would make a good addition to a more protective sunshade.

Baby beach tents are the best and safest option to shade your baby at the beach. They protect them from both the wind and from the sun. A beach tent will both shade them and help them keep from overheating. These are usually portable and can condense easily so they don’t take up much space in your car or your beach wagon. Most of them offer plenty of ventilation and there are some that are even large enough for multiple children. If you only want to take one thing to shade your child appropriately, go with a baby beach tent.

So… Which beach shade is best for children under 1?

Beach tents are best for children under the age of 1 because they provide protection from both the sun and the wind. Because they are curved and arch over, they also protect your baby from indirect sunlight. This is especially useful for children who are under 6 months old and cannot yet wear sunscreen. There are many different options for beach tents, but they almost all have UPF 50+ protection, are easy to set up and takedown, and are well ventilated so that your baby does not overheat. 

What to Look for in a Baby Beach Tent

There are several important aspects to look at when choosing a beach tent to shade your baby. Most importantly, you will want to look at their level of UV protection, airflow and ventilation, durability, and protection from other elements, such as sand.

UV Protection

UV Protection means that the tent is designed specifically to protect from the sun’s harmful UV rays. This is probably the most important thing to look at when choosing a baby beach tent. Sun protection is the main reason for purchasing a beach tent, so of course, UV protection is important. If possible, you’ll want to buy one that is made from UPF material, which is specially designed to block the sun’s rays. Try to look for a tent with a UV Protection of 50+. This comes with most beach tents, but you will still want to check. Not only will UPF Protection keep your child from experiencing the harmful effects of the sun, but it will also reduce the temperature in the tent which will help keep your child cool.

Air Flow 

This is important to consider when choosing your baby tent so that your child does not overheat. Infants cannot yet regulate their body temperature, so not only do you want to keep them shaded, but you want to keep them cool, as well. You will want to make sure that your tent has a breathable (but still protective) fabric, and that it has mesh windows for ventilation. 


This is something that is important to look at so that you don’t have to buy beach tents over and over again. You also don’t want to choose one that will blow away at the first strong gust of wind, which happens often at the beach! You want a highly durable tent that will be able to withstand the elements as well as general wear and tear. Something to look at is the material that it is made of. You will want one that combines nylon and polyester so that you will have both comfort and durability. You will also want to look at the construction of the tent – how will it stand up? Does it come with sandbags or stakes to hold it down? The sturdiness of your beach tent is very important. If durability is more important to you than ease of transport and setup, some tents are made with steel frames and will be more durable than most tent materials.


A beach tent is also a great way to keep the sand off of your baby. It gives them a clean, shaded surface to play on and even to nap on. If sand does get into the tent, they are usually very easy to clean off. Some tents are tent and kiddie pool combos, but the pools make a great escape from the sand. They provide an indent in the tent that your baby can sit or lay in that is safe from the sand.

Where to Buy a Baby Beach Tent

There are several major retailers where you can buy a baby beach tent. Make sure that you do your research and that the beach tent that you choose offers UV protection, airflow, durability, and sand protection.


This is an easy way to order a tent and not even have to leave the house. It also gives you access to thousands of user reviews to see which tent has worked best (or worst) for other people. You will have hundreds of options from different suppliers – be sure that you are still comparing based on the criteria above. While ordering on Amazon is convenient, you want to make sure that the tent that you choose will properly shade your child.


Target is my go-to for a lot of things, and that does not exclude baby beach tents. Target has several beach tent options, both online and in-store, that would make great options. Be sure to look for one with UV Protection. 


I haven’t seen many baby beach tents in the store at Walmart, but they have hundreds of options online. These are very affordable options and many of them have very positive reviews.

BuyBuy Baby

This store has almost anything that you could ever want or need for your baby. They have a lot of different baby beach tents to choose from. They offer many of the best-selling brands, both in-store and online.

Best Baby Beach Tent

There are so many options to choose from when shopping for a baby beach tent, but I’ve narrowed it down to a few of my favorites.

This Babymoov Anti UV Marine Sun Dome is the top-rated baby beach tent for a reason. It is a foldable pop-up tent, making it easy to transport, and also has a mesh drop-down cover that provides protection from bugs. It has an anti-UV rating of 50 SPF and blocks up to 99% of harmful UV rays.  It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty. This tent is available at BuyBuy Baby.

This Monobeach Baby Tent with Pool is great if you want a two-for-one option. It is easily portable, offers UV 50 protection, and even if you don’t want to use the mini pool, it provides an extra barrier from the sand. It comes with 4 pegs to keep the tent in place in the sand. It is also waterproof which can be very handy when it starts to rain.

This Ocean World Beach Tent for Kids is another great option for a baby beach tent. It not only provides UPF 50 protection but also has a super cute ocean animal print! It is large enough for 3 people and is easy to set up and takedown.  It has extended full-length ventilation screens for extra airflow. It is compact when stored and has a 2 pole easy setup system. The manufacturer states that they use 190T polyester with a silver coating for maximum sun protection.

This Bend River Pop Up Baby Tent is smaller than many of the other options, but it also has many perks. Like the others, it offers UPF 50+ protection. It is easy to set up and comes with a storage bag. It has a built-in mini pool, which also serves as a barrier from the sand. An added perk for this tent is the fact that it comes with a portable mosquito net.

Best Beach Tent for Families

If you have multiple children in your family, this Veer Basecamp Beach Tent is a great option for you. It is available at BuyBuy Baby, REI, and direct from the manufacturer. It provides a UPF 50 coating, a zipper door, and the capacity is 5 pounds. This tent is made from water-resistant polyester.  The protective canopy cover sits 3 inches above the shelter body to provide maximum airflow. Veer also makes a Cruiser Stroller that the bag for this beach tent will attach to.

This Outdoor Automatic Pop Up Sun Shade Tent from Target is a great option for the whole family. It has UV 50+ protection and has 3 mesh windows for ventilation. It is suitable for 3-4 people. This tent is very easy to set up and to take down. It also comes with a 120-day manufacturer limited warranty.

This White Fang Beach Tent has over 2,000 5 star reviews on Amazon, with many saying that it is a great option for families. It will hold up to 3 people. It has an extendable floor, so it can also serve as a beach mat for adults who don’t want the shade, and it has 3 windows for ventilation. An added bonus? This tent is under $50 on Amazon!

This Ozark Trail Portable Sun Shelter from Wal-Mart is not only a great value at only $35, but has plenty of space for your family, as well. It offers UV protection and comes with fillable sandbags and four stakes to hold it in place. This tent is 60” tall, so even adults can use the shade of this tent. It folds compactly and is easy to set up and takedown, with the use of included fiberglass poles and a storage bag.

Best Portable Beach Tents With Easy Set Up and Take Down

This Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent is the highest rated in the category of easy setup. I mean, it even says it in its name! It is lightweight and compact, and it is under $75 on Amazon! It is specifically designed for a fast and easy setup. It has UPF 50+ sun protection and two large windows for ventilation. It is water repellent and is made from breathable polyester.  It even has pockets on the inside to hold personal items. It comes with a carrying case, sand pockets, and stakes for durability.

This Sunba Easy Pop Up Tent is another option if you are looking for an easy setup and takedown. It will also hold 2 children, making it a good option for families. It has a specially coated UV protective coating. It has an automatic pop-up design and is easy to fold back up to transport.

This Koon Beach Tent Sun Shelter is another tent that is easy to set up. The manufacturers claim that it can be set up in less than a minute.  The bag shows step-by-step directions that will help you set it up and take it down quickly.  It has UPF 50+ Protection and it has 3 large, mesh windows for ventilation.

Using some sort of sunshade at the beach to protect your baby is a must! Make sure that you consider all of your options and choose the one that offers the most protection for your baby.

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Full time world traveler. We cover tips, tricks, and recommendations for traveling the world with your family.

Stamford, CT

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