These Cooling Shirts for Kids Make Summer Heat Waves Bearable

by Sabrina Rojas Weiss

These Cooling Shirts for Kids Make Summer Heat Waves Bearable

Image Credits: Primary

Shop Story

Special fabric helps active littles chill out.


Every time the weather heats up, we start to see ads for men’s and women’s clothing with “cooling technology,” calling to mind images of futuristic jumpsuits with built-in air conditioners—which, yes, please. But as temps climb, we parents are really in the market for something to prevent our children from overheating, especially since we can’t exactly keep them indoors or in the pool indefinitely. And we’re in luck, as there are cooling shirts for kids we can easily stock up on for the coming heat waves.


Just like adults, children are susceptible to heat-related health risks such as dehydration, cramps, exhaustion, and even heat stroke, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ They also don’t have as much ability to sweat and cool themselves off as adults do. Meanwhile, we’re still sending them outside to play, participate in sports, and attend summer camps. That’s still a good thing for their health, as long as they have plenty of water, sunblock, grown-ups monitoring them for signs of excessive heat exposure, and the right clothing.


RELATED: The Best Sunscreen for Kids in 2021



Cooling shirts, while not space-age personal A/Cs, do help kids cope with high temperatures. They’re made with fabrics that wick away moisture for faster evaporation, a process that also removes heat from the surrounding air. And because it’s better for skin to stay covered from the sun, these shirts are even better than a kid’s first instinct in hot weather, to strip down and run free.


1 of 8 Image Credits: Primary

Best Cooling Shirt for Kids of All Ages and Genders

Stay Cool Tee with UPF50


The folks at Primary know how to delight parents and kids with fun colors, and simple, gender-neutral styles. Now they’re filling other needs with this UPF 50 shirt, woven from moisture-wicking fabric that’s free from harmful chemicals and made with flat seams that won’t irritate sensitive skin. Available in sizes 2/3–14.

2 of 8 Image Credits: Target

Best Short-Sleeved Cooling Shirt for Toddlers

Cat & Jack Play Every Day Shirt


This shirt from Target’s Cat & Jack line isn’t super high tech, but it is made from lightweight, 100 percent recycled polyester. We also like that the space between “every” and “day” is grammatically correct. Available in sizes 12M–5T.

3 of 8 Image Credits: Amazon

Best Long-Sleeved Cooling Shirt for Toddlers

Vapor Apparel UPF 50 Performance Shirt


The absolute best thing about long-sleeve shirts with UPF protection like this is that they require so much less sunblock application, that universally hated activity. Aptly named Vapor Apparel uses moisture-wicking, odor blocking fabric that’s lighter weight than your typical rash guard. Available in sizes 24M–6.

4 of 8 Image Credits: Hanes

Best Cooling T-Shirts to Buy in Bulk

Hanes Cool Dri Performance Crewneck 3-Pack


These Hanes tees are made with a 50+ UPF interlock jersey knit to wick away sweat and cool down your kids. At this price, you can buy enough shirts to cut down on laundry too. Available in sizes S–XL.

5 of 8 Image Credits: Amazon

Best Cooling Tank Top for Girls

C9 Champion Girls Performance Tank


This tank top for girls doesn’t just look cool on the outside: It uses Champion’s Duo Dry fabric that’s breathable and moisture-wicking, so girls can feel cool on the inside, too. Available in sizes XS–XL.

6 of 8 Image Credits: Amazon

Best T-Shirt With High-Tech Cooling Fabric Description

TSLA Youth Running Shirt 2-Pack


What is PlazmaSkin fabric and what happens when it’s got a Micro Waffle Weave Texture in a HyperDri 2.0 Series? The lingo doesn’t matter as much as the user reviews, which praise the shirts’ thin material and comfortable fit. Available in sizes S–XXL.

7 of 8 Image Credits: Kerrits

Best High-Necked Cooling Shirt for Riding

Kerrits Kids Cool Ride Ice Fil Short Sleeve Shirt


Kerrits makes clothing for horseback riding, but we can just as easily imagine kids and adults taking advantage of this shirt’s Ice Fil fabric—which cools body surface temperatures down by 5 degrees—for all sorts of outdoor adventures. Available in sizes S–XL.

8 of 8 Image Credits: Amazon

Best Cooling Vest for Kids

Techniche HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling Child Sport Vest


Cooling vests are often used for people with medical conditions that prevent them from regulating their temperatures well, but athletes also sometimes use them for training. If your kid is prone to overheating but still loves being outside in the summer, try something like this vest, which works just by being submerged in water for 60 seconds. The water evaporates slowly over the course the following eight to 12 hours, cooling its wearer the whole time. Available in sizes 5/6–10/12.