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Expert Shopper Baby & Kids

Best sunscreen for kids

Safest sunscreen options for kids

Sunscreen is the best way to protect skin from long-term sun damage and prevent sunburns from occurring. With hundreds of brands of sunscreen available, all promising different types of protection and benefits to the skin, the decision about choosing the best sunscreen designed for kids becomes even harder. 

The search for the right sunscreen for kids can often become a bit overwhelming because, in fact, you’ll be looking for the perfect marriage between the sunscreen ingredients and sun protection factor, and the type of sunscreen.

Factors to consider before buying sunscreen for kids

Sun protection factor

The first and most obvious factor in buying sunscreen for kids is how well it actually protects them from the sun. The basic factor worth paying attention to is UV radiation protection, calculated as sun protection factor or SPF. Research shows that SPF 30 is the highest level of protection anyone needs, as numbers higher than that offer no significant improvement. 

Sunscreen spray, stick or lotion?

There are three basic types of sunscreen available on the market today: sunscreen spray, sunscreen lotion and sunscreen sticks. Sunscreen spray will be the quickest and easiest to apply, especially to a squirmy child but is more difficult to ensure full coverage on the skin. On the other hand, sunscreen sticks work well for faces and smaller areas of coverage but can be tedious to cover an entire body with. Finally, sunscreen lotion is not as easy to apply as the spray but usually is the best way to ensure full body coverage without much difficulty. 


When looking at ingredients, the list can be rather daunting. The best sunscreen protection ingredient is zinc oxide, providing the strongest blocking power against UV radiation. Generally speaking, look toward mineral sunscreens which can be easier on kids’ skin. If choosing a chemical sunscreen, avobenzone also offers solid UV radiation protection. 

While some ingredients may serve as a sign to buy, others are rendered harmful, discouraging customers from making a purchase. Some sunscreens contain ingredients like oxybenzone, enzacamene and PABA, which should be avoided due to possible skin irritation, mild effect on hormonal balance or allergic reactions. Additionally, avoid chemical sunscreens if at all possible. 


For bringing kids to the pool or the beach, making sure that the sunscreen is water- or sweat-proof can be incredibly important. For swimming in particular, if the sunscreen is not waterproof, it may come off over time in the pool, reducing its ability to protect the skin. Sweat-proof sunscreen is also helpful for kids doing active sports outdoors. 

The best sunscreen for kids

Best of the best sunscreen for kids

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Kids Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

What you need to know: A mineral-based sunscreen designed with broad-spectrum protection against all times of UV rays for a clean and light finish.

What you’ll love: Designed specifically for sensitive skin to ensure that there will be no irritation. The sunscreen lotion also comes with up to 80 minutes of water resistance. 

What you should consider: The sunscreen lotion does not fully blend into the skin, leaving a small white residue upon application.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck sunscreen for kids

Aveeno Kids Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

What you need to know: A great mineral-based sunscreen lotion for kids with sensitive skin that protects skin all day from broad-spectrum UV rays.

What you’ll love: Created with water and sweat resistance for up to 80 minutes as well as a tear-free formula that will not harm eyes or other sensitive areas when being applied.

What you should consider: Some users report difficulties spreading the lotion onto the skin, with a white film forming after application.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Honorable mentions

Coppertone KIDS Water-Resistant Sunscreen Lotion

What you need to know: A broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion with natural antioxidants that help support the skin’s natural protective qualities as well.

What you’ll love: Some of the best water resistance ingredients available to keep kids protected even after a full day of swimming. 

What you should consider: It leaves a greasy feeling on the skin after application and may still cause irritation if some gets into your eyes. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Banana Boat Kids Sport Sunscreen Spray

What you need to know: A broad-spectrum sunscreen spray that is great for quick, easy application while still delivering top-level skin protection.

What you’ll love: The sunscreen is completely hypoallergenic to ensure that no kids will have an adverse reaction to using the spray.

What you should consider: For lighter skin, the sunscreen will require multiple applications over the course of a day. May not be suited for facial use with eye irritation reported. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Continuous Spray Sunscreen

What you need to know: A fully vegan sunscreen spray that still offers broad-spectrum protection and safe application for children and babies.

What you’ll love: The sunscreen spray is environmentally friendly, with any spray amount released into the ocean being completely safe for reefs and fish, even in high quantities. 

What you should consider: The sunscreen spray needs to be rubbed in completely, or it will leave a white film on the outside of the skin, making it just as tedious to apply as sunscreen lotion.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Alba Botanica Kids Sunscreen Spray

What you need to know: A broad-spectrum sunscreen spray with a 100% vegetarian recipe for ethical consumption.

What you’ll love: The sunscreen is recommended directly by the Skin Cancer Foundation and is easy to apply with a light spray finish. 

What you should consider: The tropical scent may be unpleasant to some users. Additionally, other users report getting rashes after using the sunscreen spray. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Tom Price writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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