Three Things to Consider Before Buying Kid’s Sunscreen

How to protect your child from the damaging rays of the sun.

putting sunscreen on a kid
If your child isn’t fond of sunblock lotions, consider using a spray or sunscreen stick.National Cancer Institute

Sunscreen is the first line of protection against sun-damaging rays, so making the right choice for your child is important. There are gels, sticks, lotions, and sprays, so think about which your son or daughter would prefer. If you have a super squirmy kid who won’t sit still for anything, you don’t want a thick substance that requires a bunch of rubbing and lathering, and it’s best to stock up with a variety of sunscreen forms—sticks for noses and lips, lotions for overall applications, and maybe a spray for a quick re-application after a swim. Here are three things to consider when choosing sunblock.

Babyganics Baby Sunscreen Spray 50 SPF
This combination includes a bottle of all-natural, DEET-free insect repellent.Babyganics

Sunscreen efficiency is rated by its SPF, or sun protection factor. The number relates to the product’s ability to blunt UVB rays. A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 would protect skin for 15 times longer than unprotected skin. Make sure to choose a sunscreen that blocks both UVB and UVA rays with a minimum of SPF30. These will most often say “broad spectrum” or “multi-spectrum.”

Babyganics Sunscreen Lotion 50 SPF
The blend in this product includes skin-nourishing natural seed oils.Babyganics

No sunscreen lasts on the skin forever, and the more you sweat or swim, the more often you’ll need to re-apply sunblock. Some sunscreens can protect for several hours, but for kids, look for a product that says it is waterproof or water-resistant for at least 80 minutes after application.

Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray
This product is hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and PABA-free.Neutrogena

More and more sunscreens are available that are friendly not only to a child’s skin but to the environment, as well. If you’re headed to the coast, consider a product labeled “reef-safe” or “reef-friendly.” These products don’t contain oxybenzone or octinoxate, which can damage fragile reefs.