The sun is shining, summer is here, let’s head to the beach! While sunscreen, hats and beach towels are always in tow, if you have a baby, you need to have something more for a day in the sun. When you’re thinking about summer sun safety, a baby beach tent can be just as essential as sunscreen. The American Academy of Pediatricsrecommends infants under 6 months old avoid sun exposure. A baby beach tent not only provides shade and sun protection, but also a moderately sand-free place if you want to put baby down for a nap. A baby beach tent is also a mommy or daddy’s sanctuary for baby snacks when you don’t want a side of sand to go along with those baby puffs! And don’t forget those diaper changes! You’re much better taking care of business in a baby beach tent.
What to Look for in a Baby Beach Tent
You don’t want to run out to the store and just pick up any old baby beach tent. As with all the other baby gear you have in your house, you want to be thoughtful about what you buy, considering safety and quality above all. Here are some questions to keep in mind as you shop for your baby beach tent.
- Is the baby beach tent easy to assemble? Sure, it looks nice in the box, but is baby going to be a teenager by the time you put it up? You may want to consider a pop-up beach tent for baby to minimize your assembly time. Otherwise, look for a baby beach tent that really is easy to assemble.
- What sun protection does it provide? One of the main reasons you’re even buying a beach tent for baby is to offer sun protection. Know what type of UV protection the baby beach tent offers. Check out whether it has enclosure options on all sides, but also ventilation. The baby beach tent is not meant to be an oven!
- How durable is the baby beach tent? Ocean breezes can become quite brisk. Take a look at the materials the tent is made of and how durable it is. Choose a high quality product to avoid a baby beach tent disaster. Tent collapsing on baby = epic fail!
Best Baby Beach Tents
Now that you know what to look for in a baby sun tent, how do you find the best beach tent for babies? Take a look at our list to help narrow it down and find the one that’s best for your family.
Schylling UV Play Shade, SPF 50+, Ultra Portable , $46, Amazon.com
This is a favorite of beach-going mamas because it’s roomy but very portable, folding up to carry like your favorite tote! But more importantly, it’s made with a special certified material with built-in SPF 50+, which effectively protects baby from the sun’s harmful rays. And you won’t be chasing this tent down the beach because it comes with tie-down pegs and sand pockets to keep it in place.
- Pops up and down easily for quick assembly
- Sized to fit more than one child
- Provides SPF protection
- May be too small for mom to breastfeed
- Only one flap to open, which may constrict air flow
Babymoov Anti-UV Tent , $40, Target.com
This easy-peasy baby pop-up beach tent is a favorite because it’s virtually assembly-free. In about three seconds you can provide instant shade and UV protection for baby. Close it up in another three seconds and store it in its carry bag.
- Ventilation net allows for air to come through while protecting against bugs
- Four pegs (included) make it sturdy and stable for the beach
- Anti-UV coating 50+ offers superior sun protection
- Tent instructions not helpful
Shade Shack Instant Pop Up Sun Shelter , $50, Toys”R”Us
There’s room for mom, dad and a sibling in this family beach tent. It offers an easy pop-up setup and sand pockets and stakes for stay-put comfort, plus three fold-up sides for breezy ventilation while providing plenty of shade from the sun.
- Offers sun protection and ventilation at the same time
- Put sand in side pockets to weigh down
- Difficult to fold back up
- Provides SPF 30+, not SPF 50+
One Touch Play Cabana Tent , $60, Babies”R”Us
Baby (and big kid too!) will be styling in this roomy baby cabana. With one-touch setup and sturdy design, it’ll stay in place and keep your family safe from sand, wind and sun, thanks to its SPF 30+ rating. Comes complete with a carrying bag for easy portability.
- Structural stability to withstand wind
- Waterproof floor
- Fits in a suitcase for easy travel when folded
- Mesh panels allow too much sun at times
- Too small for more than one child
Pacific Play Tents Seaside Beach Cabana , $41, Walmart
Did somebody say baby beach party? This tent’s got enough space for baby, toddler and more. The ocean-like designs on the outside are perfect for a day at the beach, and baby will keep cool with the tent’s two mesh sides and full windows for ventilation.
- Solid back keeps sun out for baby naps
- Easy to clean floor
- Large enough for more than one child
- No SPF protection listed
- Does require assembly that could take time
Coleman RoadTrip Beach Shade , $48, Target.com
You’ll hear a lot of “where did you get that?” when you roll up to the sand with this family beach tent. Lightweight, portable and UV-resistant, it’s large and sturdy enough for the whole family to hide away from the sun, sand and wind. Can’t decide if you want the back of the tent to be a wall or a window? Both are doable! And did we mention there’s also a UV guard to block harmful UV rays?
- Easy setup; usually takes less than five minutes
- Comes with bags to weigh down with sand
- Easy to take down and store in bag
- Optional front privacy door is ideal for baby diaper changes
- May be hard to assemble on a windy day
Pacific Play Tents Lil Nursery Portable Dome Tent for Infants , $23, Amazon.com
Baby can be the beach boss in this pint-sized and portable baby beach tent! If baby doesn’t feel like having guests in his pad, just roll down the door for a little privacy! He can still see all the other beach babies through the mesh sidewalls that will also bring in the sea breeze. Available in four different colors and styles.
- SPF 30 walls for sun protection
- Washable floor
- Folds up compactly
- Assembly required
- Poles may break easily
- Poles become difficult to use in the sand
Kel-Gar Kids Sun Dome , $34, Amazon.com
If you want a baby beach tent, the whole tent and nothing but the tent, this should be on your list. There are no roll-up door panels here, but this sun dome does the job when it comes to keeping the sand out of diapers and other baby sand traps (thanks to that handy zipper!), all while blocking 98 percent of harmful UV rays.
- Easy to assemble
- UV protective fabric
- May not be durable on a windy day
- Difficult to fold back up
- Poles may break easily
Pacific Play Tents Baby Suite I Deluxe Lil Nursery Tent with Pad , $40, Babies”R”Us
We all know baby beach days can end just as soon as they start. And when it comes to quick and easy, this baby beach tent is a rock star—so easy to assemble and take down. Another bonus is the removable soft pad with a washable cover, for when those diaper changes don’t go exactly as planned!
- Two mesh side panels for ventilation with Velcro closures
- Keeps sand out well
- Can hold more than one child
- UV-treated fabric for sun protection
- Poles may not be sturdy
- Sand can get in Velcro closures making it hard to close over time
Sunba Youth Pop Up Tent , $33, Amazon.com
This baby beach tent is so easy to put together that baby can do it himself. Just pop it up and fold it down. But tell baby he can’t invite all the other beach babies—its cozy size makes it ideal for just one baby at a time. This tent turns into a mini pool by just adding a little water inside the attached baby pool. Shade plus water equals one cool baby!
- Back has flap for ventilation
- Lightweight and compact
- Add water inside to make a baby pool
- Zipper may break easily
- May become difficult to fold after multiple uses
Baby beach tents are not created equal. There are a many factors to consider before buying one. Make sure to bring along The Bump’s guide so you don’t get burned this summer.