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.
At what age should my baby wear sunscreen?
First, it’s important to know that babies younger than six months 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 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.
What other ways 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 their peak of 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. For those over six months, sunscreen specifically made for babies is recommended. 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 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.
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+.
Blue Lizard’s baby mineral sunscreen is designed specifically to protect baby-soft skin. It contains no chemical sunscreen ingredients, no parabens, and no fragrances. The SPF 50+ formula provides broad spectrum protection from 97% of the sun’s burning rays.
Coppertone WaterBabies has been around forever, and for good reason. It is pediatrician recommended, water resistant, gentle on skin, and provides broad spectrum protection for baby’s skin from up to 98% of the sun’s most damaging UV rays.
This family-loved SPF 50 sunscreen uses 100% mineral, non-nano zinc oxide for broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. The lightweight, fast-absorbing, non-sticky formula rubs in easily, protecting baby’s skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
(S)undercover SPF 50
(S)undercover is a lightweight mineral sunscreen serum with a smooth application. The broad spectrum SPF 50 formula protects from UVA/UVB, blue light, free radicals, and more. With a feathery finish and no white cast or greasy feel, kids won’t even know it’s there after it’s been rubbed in.
What Other Items Can I Use to Protect My Baby’s Skin?
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. Find a few of our favorite sun safety products in this article.