What to Look For When Choosing Sunscreen for Your Kids

Don’t grab just any sunscreen for your little ones.

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June 17, 2020
By: Amanda Mushro
Caucasian mother applying sunscreen to face of son


Caucasian mother applying sunscreen to face of son

Photo by: Marc Romanelli

Marc Romanelli

Before your kids head outside for some fun in the sun, you’ll need to make sure their skin is protected from harmful rays. However, choosing a sunscreen can be overwhelming. Parents wonder what brands they should look for, what to stay away from and other questions. Here’s six important sunscreen factors you should consider before slathering it on, and tips for applying it to squirmy kiddos.

  • Make sure the label says, “broad spectrum.” This means your kids will be protected from UVAs, which are skin damaging rays, and UVB, which are the types of rays that burns their skin. If it doesn’t say “broad spectrum,” skip it.

  • Grab a mineral sunscreenmade of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These will deflect the sun rays and create a barrier instead of absorbing rays like chemical sunscreens. Not only are mineral sunscreens better for your children’s sensitive skin, but they are also better for the environment.

  • Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone or avobenzone. Doctors and dermatologists recommend avoiding these chemicals in sunscreen for kids and for adults too.

  • When it comes to numbers, grab a sunscreen that is 30+ SPF. Numbers higher than 30 don’t necessarily protect better.

  • When choosing between lotions, sticks or sprays, doctors say lotions are the best for total coverage. However, if you are using sticks and sprays, be sure you are reading directions and carefully applying and reapplying so that you are covering all parts of your child’s skin.

  • Apply before the fun starts. Make sure you have applied sunscreen 20 minutes before your child goes outside and reapply every two hours. If you need a reminder, set an alarm on your phone for when it’s time to slather on more sunscreen.

Here are a few sunscreens to try this summer:

Now that you have the right sunscreen, here comes the hard part—getting your kids to stand still long enough so you can apply it everywhere. Here are some creative ways to make your kids think you are just playing games while you cover them in sunscreen from head to toe.

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