The 11 Best Sunscreens to Buy for Kids in 2018

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Choosing the right sunscreen for your kids can feel overwhelming. With so many formulas, ingredients, features and SPF numbers, it’s a real challenge to figure out which ones are the most effective and safest options. Still, with so many sunscreens out there, there’s definitely one that’s right for your family’s preferences and needs. Whether you’re looking for a cream, stick, or spray that’s all-natural sunscreen, scent-free, water-resistant or hypoallergenic, there’s likely one on this list that’s perfect for your kids. You may even decide you want to use it on yourself.

All of these picks feature an SPF of at least 30 that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, an absolute must-have for kids’ sunscreen.

Our Top Picks

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Best Overall: Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen – Baby, SPF 30

Blue Lizard Sunscreen
 Courtesy of Amazon

Some parents assume you can’t get an all-natural, water-resistant sunscreen that’s also easy to apply, but this highly-effective sunscreen has it all. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen for babies utilizes transparent zinc oxide along with titanium dioxide to provide broad-spectrum protection. It’s chemical- and fragrance-free, making it a great choice for kids with sensitive skin and noses. And unlike some other all-natural sunscreens, the lotion is smooth and rubs in easily.

A cool bonus is the unique, smart bottle technology that lets you know when you need to apply sunscreen. The UV indicator on the bottle turns bright pink when exposed to UV rays, which is especially helpful on those days when it’s not that sunny, but your kids could still get burned. Although this sunscreen is one of the pricier ones, a little goes a long way, so a bottle should last a while.

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Best for Wet Skin: Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids, SPF 70

Any parent of a water-loving child knows how tough it is to make kids come out of the pool, dry off and re-apply sunscreen, but Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids makes the process fast and fuss-free. The spray sunscreen cuts through water to adhere to kids’ wet skin, then continues to provide excellent protection once they jump back in. With an SPF 70, it protects against sunburn on even the fairest skin. Its easy application and light, fresh scent makes it a favorite among parents and kids.

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Best Stick: Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 70+

Many parents like a stick sunscreen for easy application and solid protection on kids’ faces, ears and back of the neck. Sticks are often preferred for the face because the sunscreen is less likely to drip and run into eyes or mouths. Plus, they’re convenient to stash in a diaper bag or purse for quick, on-the-go use.

Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Stick SPF 70+ is specially formulated to work on wet skin, but can also be applied to dry skin. It glides on smoothly and easily, making sunscreen application a breeze, even if kids want to do it themselves. Best of all, it stays put and won’t sting kids’ eyes.

04 of 11

Best Spray: Kiss My Face Kids Defense Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 50

Kiss My Face Kids Defense Continuous Spray Sunscreen offers the ease and convenience of a spray sunscreen without the harsh chemicals. The lightweight, non-greasy and quick-drying formula is perfect for active kids. And the air-powered spray makes application simple at any angle, so you’re less likely to miss a spot. Even kids who normally kick and scream about putting on sunscreen will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly and easily it goes on. Antioxidants like goji berry, vitamins C and E and aloe vera offer an additional layer of protection to nourish skin, help fight free radicals, as well as decrease the effects of sun damage and environmental pollutants.

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05 of 11

Best for Babies and Toddlers: Coppertone Water Babies, SPF 50

Coppertone Water Babies
 Courtesy of Amazon

Coppertone Water Babies’ gentle, non-irritating formula is perfect for babies and toddlers, and the SPF 50 protection will prevent sunburn on their sensitive skin. This tear-free formula won't sting or irritate eyes when your little one sweats or gets wet. Pediatrician-recommended and dermatologist-tested, this sunscreen is PABA-free and provides instant water-resistant protection for up to 80 minutes. The lotion is smooth and not too thick, so it’s a cinch to apply, even on a squirmy toddler. Many parents love it so much, they use it on themselves after they’re done with the kids’ applications.

06 of 11

Best Natural: Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30

If you prioritize organic and environmentally-friendly ingredients for your family, Badger is a very popular brand for naturally-derived sun care products. Their chamomile and calendula Baby Sunscreen Cream is SPF 30 and made from 98% organic ingredients, making it 100% certified natural. It doesn’t quite have the “staying power” of the more chemically-derived alternatives — it’s only water resistant for up to 40 minutes, so more reapplications are required — but it remains one of the Environmental Working Group’s top choices for safe kids’ sunscreen. Plus, it’s pediatrician-tested and hypoallergenic, so even those with sensitive skin should have no problem using it.

If you’re also concerned about the environmental impact of chemical sunscreen, then it’s important to note that Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream is biodegradable and “reef safe,” meaning it doesn’t contain any ingredients that harm coral reefs. This can be a real bonus if your little ones are washing off their sunscreen in the ocean all summer.

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Runner-Up, Best Natural: Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen, SPF 50+

If you’re looking for a natural, chemical-free, mineral-based sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white, streaky residue on your kid, then Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen is an excellent option. It’s non-greasy, has a light, citrus, pleasant scent and can be used on sensitive skin. Parents love that it’s not a thick lotion, so it absorbs quickly and is easy to rub in.

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Best for Sensitive Skin: Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection, SPF 50

Nothing puts a damper on a day at the beach like itchy, irritated skin from the wrong kind of sunscreen. If you or your little ones are prone to rashes and allergic reactions from the ingredients in the other brands you’ve tried, then Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection should be your next purchase. This specially-formulated sunscreen lotion has broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. But what really sets this sunscreen apart is its gentleness on sensitive and allergy-prone skin. There are no parabens, phthalates, or potentially-irritating artificial fragrances — the only active ingredient is naturally-sourced zinc oxide (for its UV-blocking powers).

Unlike many other sensitive-skin sunscreens, Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection offers both sun protection and the skin-hydrating benefits of lotion. It doesn’t sting or dry out delicate skin and is tear-free for easy face application. The Amazon reviews are filled with devoted users who claim this is the first sunscreen that doesn’t give them or their kids an allergic reaction. So if your summers are always a struggle to find a truly hypoallergenic sunscreen, Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection is worth a try.

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09 of 11

Runner-Up, Best for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Kids Sunscreen, SPF 60

Best Kids’ Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Kids Sunscreen for Face and Body, SPF 60
Courtesy of Amazon

If your child has allergies, eczema or sensitive skin, La Roche-Posay Anthelios Kids Sunscreen for Face and Body will protect them from the sun’s harmful rays without irritating their skin. Developed by dermatologists and formulated with ingredients selected for kids’ sensitive skin, this lightweight, comforting lotion applies easily, leaving kids’ skin feeling soft and smooth. It’s also water-resistant and doesn’t run into kids’ eyes, so it can be used from head to toe.

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Best Sport: TruKid Sunny Days Sport Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30

Whether they’re playing soccer, tennis, baseball or other outdoor activities, your little athletes will get outstanding sun protection with TruKid Sunny Days Sport Mineral Sunscreen. Pediatrician-approved and dermatologist-tested, this cream sunscreen contains no chemicals and is made with all-natural ingredients and essential oils, like organic aloe, moisturizing coconut, sunflower, jojoba oils and mineral-based, sustainably sourced zinc. Kids and parents both love that it’s unscented, water-resistant and not sticky. And you don't have to worry about it running into kids’ eyes, even with sweat dripping down their faces.

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Best Value: NO-AD Kids Care Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

Even if your family uses a ton of sunscreen, you can still get a high-quality sunscreen without breaking the bank. Stock up these oversized bottles of NO-AD Kids Care Sunscreen, which are perfect for those frequent trips to the beach and pool, or for large family vacations. In addition to being inexpensive, the lotion is also water-resistant, unscented, not thick or greasy, and goes on very easily and smoothly, making it a popular choice for families.