Keeping babies safe is a big job! Most parents focus on the safest car seats, strollers, and high chairs, but sun safety is another important consideration. As you head for the park, beach, pool, or lake this summer, you need to know about the best baby sunscreens to safely protect your baby’s sensitive skin from the sun.
When can babies wear sunscreen?
Babies younger than six months old should not wear sunscreen, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is because infants are at greater risk than adults of sunscreen side effects, such as rash. The best sun protection for young infants who cannot wear sunscreen yet is to stay in the shade. Look for natural shade, such as under a tree, or create your shade with a beach umbrella, pop-up tent, or stroller canopy.
How else can I protect my baby from sunburn?
- Wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and hats.
- Try to avoid or minimize your child’s sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun’s rays are at peak intensity.
- Wear sunscreen even if the sun isn’t out. Because clouds reduce UV rays by only 20% to 40%, babies need sun protection even when it’s cloudy outside.
Are all sunscreens safe for babies?
Once your baby is six months or older, it’s time to consider sunscreen. But not all sunscreens are appropriate for baby’s skin. Look for those specifically made for babies. These sunscreens use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to form a physical barrier against the sun’s rays; these ingredients are not absorbed into the skin and are better for infants.
Choose a mineral-based, broad-spectrum sunscreen (meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 30 or higher. Look for sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium oxide. These ingredients don’t need to be absorbed into the skin to work, so they’re less likely to cause a reaction on sensitive skin. Avoid sunscreens that use chemicals like oxybenzone, octinoxate, or methylisothiazolinone as the active ingredient.
Just in case, though, it’s a good idea to test any new sunscreen before applying thoroughly. Apply a little sunscreen on the inside of your baby’s wrist and watch for signs of irritation, which may take as long as several days to develop.
What are the best baby sunscreens?
(Also mom hack: you can use all of these sunscreens, too! No need to carry around multiple types!)
The sunscreen developed by Thinkbaby falls into the highest category for water resistance and has a SPF 50+. Thinkbaby does not contain oxybenzone or avobenzone. The active ingredient is non-nano Zinc Oxide.
Blue Lizard is a mineral-based sunscreen. The formula is made without Oxybenzone or Octinoxate. It contains no chemical sunscreen ingredients, parabens, or fragrances. The SPF 50+ formula provides broad spectrum protection from 97% of the sun’s burning rays.
WaterBabies is a hypoallergenic, pediatrician recommended sunscreen made for babies. It is free of oxybenzone, octinoxate, PABA, and dyes and provides 98% broad spectrum protection.
This SPF 50 sunscreen uses 100% mineral, non-nano zinc oxide for broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. It doesn’t contain synthetic fragrances, parabens, sulfates, or petrolatum.
Pediatrician-recommended, this mineral-based sunscreen stick is oil-free, fragrance-free and both sweat-resistant and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The active ingredient is 100% Zinc Oxide.
(S)undercover is a lightweight mineral sunscreen serum whose primary component is Zinc Oxide. The broad spectrum SPF 50 formula protects from UVA/UVB, blue light, free radicals, and more.
Even after your baby is old enough to wear sunscreen and as they continue into the toddler stage, you shouldn’t forget other forms of skin protection, such as seeking out shade and using clothing and accessories. Here are more of our favorite sun safety products.