Okay, listen, I know we have different opinions on what constitutes a “good” parent, and that’s a good thing! It’s what makes us a parenting community–we share different perspectives so that we can all have a well-rounded approach to parenting. The good news is that most of us can get on board with the fact that we’re all trying to find the best sunscreen for baby brands our there.
We might argue about things like screen time shaming, formula feeding, and disposable diapers, there’s no defending the choice not to protect your little one’s sensitive skin from the sun. And while OUR parents might not have known how important sunscreen is, we definitely DO!
That’s why so many of us scour the aisles of our local pharmacy or grocery store for the best baby sunscreen on the market.
Sure, we might hop on the Banana Boat or Coppertone train (I know I have!), but better options are available if you want a sunblock free of harsh chemicals and active ingredients.
Whether you need sensitive skin formulas or want an all-natural sunscreen (or need both!), the lists below will provide all the summertime sunblock answers you need.
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- The 411 on Safely Applying Sunscreen to Kids
- Should You Also Buy Clothing to Protect Against UV Rays?
- The Best Natural Sunscreen for Babies and Children
- Affordable Kid-Friendly Sunblock for Every Budget
- Our Favorite Spray Sunscreens for Kids
- The Best Baby and Kid Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin
- What About The Best Baby Sunscreen for Eczema? Eczema-Friendly Sunblock for Children
- Face Stick Sunscreens that Parents Love
- Protect Your Kids’ Skin with the Best Sunscreen for Baby
- Summer Activities Link Round-Up
The 411 on Safely Applying Sunscreen to Kids
Are you getting ready to head to the beach? Is your family planning a day at the zoo?
STOP before you leave the house!
It’s time to think about your pre-sunshine checklist:
- Are your little ones wearing comfortable, breathable clothing?
- Did you pack a water bottle?
- Where are their sunglasses?
- And, most importantly, have you covered every square inch of their skin in sunblock?
A sunburn is miserable no matter how old you are. Good luck, however, trying to comfort a baby or toddler when their skin is tight, crispy, and red from a day of unprotected outdoor play. They don’t understand why they hurt so badly; all they know is that it sucks!
Sunscreen Application Recommendations
While you might think the most important sunscreen application rule is simply to put it on, there are more things you need to consider before you step outside for some Vitamin D.
Below you’ll find a list of recommendations from KidsHealth.org about safe sunscreen usage for babies, toddlers, and kids:
- Limit sun exposure for babies younger than six months. Their skin is very delicate and susceptible to burns.
- Always use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
- Avoid sunscreens with para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) – it can cause uncomfortable skin irritations that will make your littles miserable!
- I know it’s easy to forget, but it’s best to put sunscreen on 15-30 minutes BEFORE going out in the sun.
- Put on another coat every two hours or after they finish swimming or sweating.
A friend of mine, Elizabeth Thomas, is a licensed holistic esthetician and the owner of Pure Skincare in Bradenton, FL. She’s also undergone expert training in natural skincare practices. I asked her about this topic, and she suggested another tip for safe sunscreen applications: feeling your kids’ skin while they’re outside. She says:
“Reapplication is key for utmost protection, either every 2 hours or when the skin feels warm to the touch. It’s a great way to monitor the skin, as well. “
Elizabeth also mentioned that zinc oxide is your best bet for kids. Not only does it provide reliable protection from harmful UV rays, but it’s also a gentle mineral that’s better for sensitive skin.
Should You Use Sunscreen for Babies Under 6 Months?
I understand that the prospect of slipping your newborn into a teeny-weeny bikini or pair of baby board shorts sounds adorable. And most of us can’t wait to photograph “Baby’s First Time in the Pool.” But no matter how high the expectations are, it’s better to wait.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the FDA suggest keeping little ones out of direct sunlight and avoiding sunscreen until they’re six months old.
Most sunscreens come with a risk of skin irritation as is. When we’re talking about a baby’s delicate skin, the chances of a rash are even higher.
Instead of coating them in sunscreen, keeping your kiddos in the shade during the first several months is best (pop-up tents are great options for the beach, park, or pool!).
You should also dress them in lightweight clothing and sun hats that provide extra coverage for sensitive newborn skin.
These sun hats cover your little one’s head and neck, which we love!
Should You Also Buy Clothing to Protect Against UV Rays?
Purchasing high-quality sunscreen for babies and kids is essential, but there are other ways to protect their sensitive skin. Many brands offer a wide range of bathing suits that work against UVB rays that can cause sunburns during outdoor activities.
While sunscreens use an SPF rating system, you’ll want to look for UPF ratings on clothing. Some stylish and trustworthy brands include:
The Best Natural Sunscreen for Babies and Children
Yes, sun protection is essential, but that doesn’t mean we’re willing to just put any cream or spray sunblock on our kids. Many parents still want to use a safe broad-spectrum sunscreen that doesn’t include dangerous ingredients like oxybenzone.
If you’re hunting for kids’ sunscreen with clean ingredients, the options below are what you’re looking for!
This natural skincare and sun protection product collection has quickly become a new staple on many sun-conscious parents’ shopping lists.
Not only is this sunscreen fragrance-free (a great feature if you have sensitive skin), but it’s also vegan, hypoallergenic, has non-nano zinc oxide, and uses only plant-based ingredients. It also goes on easily and remains water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
One thing to note, however, is that some reviewers noticed a white cast when using the product. A little extra rubbing in might be required for this one.
This pediatrician-tested sunscreen for kids and babies is a favorite among anyone who wants to use natural products on their baby’s skin. It fights against UVA and UVB sun rays to ensure your child’s skin is safe during outdoor fun this summer and beyond.
I’ll be honest; one of my favorite things about Tubby Todd Mineral Sunscreen is the adorable moose on the bottle. Cute packaging aside, this natural kids’ sunscreen packs a major sun protection punch!
The active ingredients in this broad-spectrum sunscreen are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide–two mineral sunblock powerhouses. Reviewers also rave about its smooth application and love that it doesn’t have a greasy feel.
With more than 6,500 reviews on Amazon, it’s evident that Blue Lizard is one of the best sunscreens for babies and children.
One of my favorite things about this brand is the awareness they help spread about the impact of sunscreen on marine life. Many chemical sunscreens include ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate. Research proves these substances are not only harmful to us humans, but they also cause adverse reactions to coral reefs.
Blue Lizard commits to avoiding these ingredients and helps educate users on the adverse effects they can cause.
Affordable Kid-Friendly Sunblock for Every Budget
Okay, here’s the deal, most of us agree we don’t want to put crap on our kids. Not all of us, however, can afford pricy organic brands that are popular within all-natural parenting communities.
Don’t stress, though!
There are plenty of great options available that will offer your kids reliable protection without breaking the bank. If you’re hunting for the best baby and kid sunscreens that are trustworthy and budget-friendly, stick around!
I’m a massive fan of everything actress Kristen Bell does! In fact, if she produced a line of trash bags, I’d probably be the first one at the store to buy them.
Imagine my delight when I found out she and her husband, Dax Shepard, created a natural collection of baby and kid products that are affordable, versatile, and fabulous: enter the Hello Bello brand.
Not to be outdone by diapers and wipes, their mineral sunscreen lotion is an excellent choice if you want a high-quality sunblock that’s affordable, natural, and dependable. It’s reef-friendly, water-resistant, and includes prebiotics for ultimate sun protection.
Many Hello Bello products have a strong scent. You should keep looking if you or your children are sensitive to fragrance.
The BabyGanics brand is another popular choice for mamas who want organic products at low-cost prices. The company’s mineral sunscreen for kids is a great all-around product without any added junk.
There are no parabens; it’s fragrance-free; and it includes an impressive seed oil blend with natural sun-protectant properties.
Our family relies heavily on Aveeno products for our girls, who were both born with unfortunate cases of bad skin. Yes, eczema flair-ups are a regular occurrence in our house.
I love this particular sunscreen option because it provides safe, natural protection from UV rays, but it also contains soothing oat which helps kiddos with sensitive skin.
There is a downside, however. This product is THICK. One reviewer even compares it to diaper rash cream. So, this might not be the best choice if you want an easy application.
Our Favorite Spray Sunscreens for Kids
I have a love/hate relationship with spray sunscreens. On the one hand, they’re great for squirmy children who want nothing more than to run away from us and jump into the nearest body of water.
On the other, though, they’re not always the most reliable when “hitting all the spots.” I have memories of a traumatic sunburn after erratically applying spray sunscreen to prove this one.
Plus, they also come with an inconvenient inhalation risk that could pose problems if you or your kiddos have sensitive lungs.
But if you’re interested in giving spray sunscreen for kids a try, there are some noteworthy products to consider!
Want a surefire way to irritate your kids? Tell them they must get out of the water and dry off so you can reapply their sunscreen! You’re guaranteed to get some lethal glares from them.
If you want to avoid the wrath of telling your child to stop playing while they drip dry, why not consider a spray sunscreen that goes on wet or dry skin?
That’s where Sun Bum Kids Clear Sunscreen comes in!
SunBum offers a clean product that accommodates the active lifestyles of our kiddos. This sunscreen will withstand heat, water, and sweat, whether at the beach or on the soccer field.
It also goes on clear, making it a fantastic sunblock option for any skin type!
One thing I love about the Tubby Todd Mineral Mist is how it sprays out of the can in a fine mist instead of gloopy glops. This provides a gentler sunscreen application and helps you avoid the sticky residue you’ll get with many other spray sunblocks for kids.
Remember to rub the sunscreen in after applying (as you should with any spray sunscreen!) If you spray and walk away, there’s a chance your child might end up with burnt patches of skin.
As a mom of kids with eczema-prone skin, I’ve noticed that many spray sunscreens are a no-go for kids with eczema-prone skin. They tend to irritate and burn our little one’s skin after application. Then we do the “it hurts, it hurts” song and dance before enjoying our outdoor fun.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you should check out Blue Lizard Mineral Sunscreen Spray.
This popular sunblock spray is marketed toward anyone with sensitive skin. It’s free of irritating ingredients, like alcohol, and includes moisturizing elements, such as antioxidants. This makes it a strong contender for best baby sunscreen in our book!
The Best Baby and Kid Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin
During my chat with Elizabeth from Pure Skincare, we discussed kids with skin sensitivities quite a bit. After all, studies show that over 50% of children will suffer from skin issues.
If you’re a parent whose child suffers from dermatological problems, don’t stress. Elizabeth offered a few great options to keep your little one’s skin safe, protected, and nourished.
Note: Not all of these products are “children-specific.” The formulas are so clean and delicate that they work for anyone’s skin.
If you want a sensitive-formula sunscreen that’s free of basically everything, Suntegrity is where it’s at. From synthetic dyes to harsh chemicals, the creators of this sunblock have created a formula appropriate for anyone with delicate skin.
However, just because they take out all of the junk it doesn’t mean it won’t stand up to harsh UVA and UVB rays. It includes high-quality zinc oxide that ensures your little one will receive the broad-spectrum UVA protection they deserve.
Remember, though – this sunscreen has a lower SPF than some other products. While dermatologists and pediatricians still approve SPF 30, you will likely want to lean on the side of caution and reapply Suntegrity more often.
When I was looking for a new sunscreen for my face, Elizabeth turned me on to Tizo products. I was surprised by how downright luxurious their formula felt.
While it’s still free of the harsh chemicals you should avoid in a kid’s sunscreen, it offers reliable protection in the form of zinc oxide. It’s also bulked up by antioxidants C & E to nourish our kids’ skin while using it.
Many reviewers talk about how rich this product feels and how it doesn’t dry out their skin like many sunscreens.
Since it’s a heavier sunblock than some, a few people mentioned that it left them feeling a bit sticky, but overall, most of the reviews were positive.
Given their frequent appearances on this list, it’s probably not surprising that we’re big fans of Blue Lizard. Many of us use their products and consider them one of the best baby and kid sunscreens on the market.
If you have a child with sensitive skin, you’ll be excited to hear they also have a formula for them!
One issue with many sensitive skin sunscreens is the price tag. These products might be fantastic, but they can be expensive, too.
If you’re looking for a great option that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, Aveeno Continuous Protection for Sensitive Skin is an excellent alternative.
Don’t let the lower price scare you, though–Aveeno products are one of the most common recommendations by pediatricians.
What About The Best Baby Sunscreen for Eczema? Eczema-Friendly Sunblock for Children
Most of the sensitive-skin sunscreen for babies options above will also work for kids with eczema. If you’re interested in a sunscreen that’s also approved by the National Eczema Association, though, the products below may be a safer bet:
- CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen – SPF 50
- TruKid Eczema Sunscreen – SPF 30
- Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Sunscreen – SPF 50
Face Stick Sunscreens that Parents Love
I don’t know if I’ve been sleeping on the face stick sunscreen trend or if it’s a new development, but these products are the best things since sliced bread if you ask me.
My kids like to act like I’m committing murder when I try to put sunscreen on their faces. but face sticks cut down on the screaming and irritation drastically! Want to check one out? Take a look at the list below!
If you want water and sweat-resistant sunscreen for kids that glides onto their face easily and goes on clear, your search stops now! The Sun Bum face stick is a favorite among the parenting community.
Some reviewers aren’t really into the smell (one even compares it to “synthetic bananas”), but there’s no arguing with its dependability.
The Blue Lizard sunscreen stick is one of the most popular face stick sunscreen options on the market. It even has nearly 3,500 reviews to prove it!
It has top-notch UVA and UVB protection and is UVA and UVB protection, AND it’s packed with luxurious ingredients, like shea butter and aloe vera, to support sensitive skin.
Whether you’re a baby, toddler, or full-grown adult, the Earth Mama sunscreen stick is an amazing product.
In fact, it’s won awards for “Best Recreational Sunscreen” and “Best Baby and Kid Sunscreen” from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Protect Your Kids’ Skin with the Best Sunscreen for Baby
No matter how much sitting inside and enjoying the AC sounds like a great idea during the hot summer months, getting our littles outside for some old-school outdoor fun is crucial.
Just don’t forget that applying sunscreen before outdoor play is essential!
Whether you want a sunscreen spray for babies and kids or a face stick sunblock, plenty of good options are available. So, hold them down and slather their precious skin with whatever option works best for your family.
What is your favorite sunscreen for baby? Are we missing any??
Summer Activities Link Round-Up
Want more ideas to keep your kids busy this summer? Check out the articles below:
- Family Travel Tips
- Family Friendly Vacation Ideas
- Working from Home with Kids
- Montessori Toys
- Movies for Toddlers
- Educational Apps for Students
- Water Tables
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.