The Best & Safest Sunscreens for Kids

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Whether you are hitting the beach or the pool, doing the park or a downtown stroll, keeping the whole family protected from the summer sun is key. It can be a victory enough just to get sunscreen on your kids! But, sadly, not all sunscreens are created equal. Here are some of the best and safest sunscreens to slather on your kids all summer long.

THE BEST & SAFEST SUNSCREENS

If you tend to buy whatever sunscreen is on sale, you may want to take a second look at your sun protection. The Environmental Working Group puts out an annual sunscreen guide that rates the safety and efficacy of sunscreens along with other products like moisturizers, lip products and SPF makeup. This year, they evaluated a whopping 750 sunscreens, giving each a score of 0 (good) to 10 (yikes!) based on the sunscreen's UV protection effectiveness and the safety of all ingredients on the label.

According to their EWG, almost three-fourths of the sunscreens they looked at offer poor sun protection or contain potentially harmful ingredients like oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor, or retinyl palmitate, which may harm skin. Yikes.

How to choose a better sunscreen for your kiddos? The EWG provides these 6 tips:

  1. Check your products in EWG’s sunscreen database and avoid harmful additives
  2. Steer clear of products with SPF higher than 50.
  3. Avoid sprays. They don’t provide a uniform coating and you don’t want to inhale them and coat your lungs with sunscreen.
  4. Stay away from vitamin A. Government studies link the use of retinyl palminate, a form of vitamin A, to formation of skin tumors and lesions when it’s applied to sun-exposed skin.
  5. Steer clear of oxybenzone. This widely used UV-filtering chemical is a hormone disruptor and allergen.
  6. Cover up. The best sun protection is clothing. Wear shirts, hats and pants to protect your skin.

The EWG Sunscreen Guide lists 22 top-rated sunscreens for kids and babies. Check out three of our favorites below or see the entire list here.

Badger Balm SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Cream : This kid-friendly sunscreen relies on zinc oxide for sun protection and has a yummy tangerine and vanilla smell.

Badger Kids sunscreen


Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Baby, SPF 30+: I love that this comes in a larger 8.75oz bottle and is easy to find in many drugstores. (You can also buy a gallon of it here!)

blue lizard sunscreen
thinksport sunscreen

Thinksport for Kids Sunscreen, SPF 50+: This sunscreen goes on thick, but rubs in easily and doesn't leave a white residue. One of EWG's top rated sunscreens for years!

Want more ideas? Click to see the entire EWG Sunscreen Guide here.

Reality Check: Listen - as a mom of three boys who love to be outside and live by the beach, I know how hard it is just to get and keep sunscreen on kids. And the last thing we need is more "mom guilt" that we're slathering our kids with the "wrong" sunscreen. So here's how I'm taking this information. I currently have 2-3 bottles of sunscreen in my house that don't score very well on EWG's list. They aren't on the worst sunscreens for kids list, but they certainly aren't on the good list either. Instead of chucking them in the trash and buying new bottles off the good list, I'm going to finish these up but use the EWG's sunscreen list as a guide when I go to purchase our next round of suncare. Sun protection provided. Mom guilt averted. Win-win!

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