The weather’s warming up, the sun’s out longer, and we’re right around the corner from experiencing the joys of being outside more often!
While wonderful, that also means more sun exposure and thus more chances for sunburn to harm our skin. Kids and babies, with their extra-sensitive, brand new skin are at an even higher risk of suffering the effects of our universe’s daylight powerhouse, so it’s important to coat them with a powerful, effective, yet gentle sunscreen to prevent redness.
Below you’ll find a variety of sunscreens created with little ones in mind. From the average wear time of 80 minutes (giving them plenty of splash time in the pool) to the high-quality ingredients that won’t irritate their tender skin, these are our top picks for kids’ sun protection in 2021.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
This 60 SPF sunscreen is designed to be gentle and is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, cutting down on valuable reapplication time. It’s non-comedogenic (aka it won’t clog pores) and free of fragrance, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, oxybenzone, dyes, and aluminum, so buy for the extra sensitive swimmer in your life to stave off those pesky rays.
One of Walmart’s top sellers, this sunscreen is formulated for active children and works on wet skin so you don’t have to wait for them to dry off between laps to keep them protected. You get 70+ SPF, Helioplex technology (for broad protection), and a hypoallergenic, oil-free, PABA-free formulation. Grab a handful and stash in every beach bag, purse, and backpack you can find.
Coppertone is one of the most trusted names in sunscreen, so it’s no surprise this convenient spray-on, 50 SPF kids option is a favorite of Amazon shoppers. More than 1500 ratings give it a solid five stars, and you receive three bottles for just around $20, plenty to stash in various locations so you’re never left without protection.
This baby-friendly sunscreen claims to be “mild as water” on infant skin while locking in moisture and avoiding any stinging or irritation that could occur with stronger formulas. It’s made from naturally-sourced 100% zinc oxide and skin-soothing oat, and it’s both sweat- and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
This big boy’s perfect for the multi-kid household who needs to wrangle a bunch of little hyper sunbathers without running out halfway through your beach day. For $58, you’ll get 18 fluid ounces of SPF 50 formulated for face and body, all skin types, and ready to prevent burns and dehydration thanks to its moisturizing properties. It’s also reef-safe, cruelty-free, and in the most environmentally-friendly packaging possible, so buy with a clear conscious and soak up the sun safely.
In addition to the fun, kid-friendly packaging featuring a cute badger and its baby, this broad spectrum sunscreen boasts “simple, safe, mineral sunscreens for kids” and the standard 80-minute lasting power needed before needing a topcoat. Reviewers love the great scent and the way it sinks into the skin, and as one parent writes:
“Goes on smooth and clear, smells amazing! Great for me and 1 year old son.”
Pediatric and dermatologist recommended, this nontoxic, non-nano zinc oxide, mineral-based sunscreen comes as a set with an SPF 50 tube of sunscreen and an SPF 30 sunscreen stick for maximum coverage and options. It blends in easily and is water resistant, and as one buyer reports:
“LOVE this sunscreen. It’s perfect for kids and adults alike - spreads easily and smells great! Highly recommend. Absolutely love that you can now buy the tube and stick in one combo pack.”