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The Do’s and Don’ts of Sunscreen for Babies and Kids

Unblocking the Questions When It Comes to Sunblock.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Sunscreen for Babies and Kids

As a resident of the “Sunshine State”, an avid traveler and outdoors mom, our family is always in the sun. I’m a big advocate for safety outdoors, especially after a scare with a spot of melanoma removed from my scalp five years ago. 

With sunshine season upon us, let’s unblock some of the confusion when it comes to sun protection.

I’ve compiled this list of sunscreen do’s and don’ts to make sure we’re providing our precious babies, toddlers and kids with the best sun protection possible.

Sunscreen DO’s

Use a Good Old-Fashioned Sun Hat

I was shocked to learn that one of the top places for melanoma to develop is on your scalp, under your hair. ALWAYS use a sun hat when going outdoors. As my doctor said, “the bigger the better!” Protect your babies' and kids’ skin and scalp not only from burn, but from harmful rays.  

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Know the Difference Between Rays

UVA Rays are the harmful ones that, according to the Environmental Working Group, “penetrate deep into the body, accelerate skin aging, may suppress the immune system and may cause skin cancer.”

UVB Rays can burn your skin, but are not the penetrating kind. The scary thing is most sun blocks are misleading with their high SPF numbers, which only block the UVB rays, not the harmful UVA Rays.

Sun Shirts are a Must

Since my boys were babies, we’ve used long-sleeved sun shirts anytime we play outside in the water. It’s less you’ll worry about in reapplying lotion to their arms and backs, the places they’ll get most exposure. Now, even my teenager knows sun-time means a water shirt. It’s just second nature.

Invest in Good, Portable Shade

I’m a huge fan of a portable canopy, and really loved the one we had with the built-in floor and screens when my boys were babies. We still travel with a big beach umbrella in the car, and use it as often as possible. Use sunshades in the car and for your strollers, too!

Be Prepared Ahead of Time

Chances are, the local drug store or resort pool won’t sell a healthy option in sunscreen, so you’ll need to purchase the best ahead of time at a health food store or online.

Look for the Right Numbers

According to the EWG, “The most worrisome thing about high-SPF products is that they give people a false sense of security and beguile them to stay in the sun too long. High-SPF suppresses the skin reddening and pain of sunburns, but they raise the risk of other kinds of skin damage. The FDA is considering barring SPF above 50+.”

Read and Understand the Labels of Sunscreens

There are some scary chemical ingredients included in some sunscreen products today. Many of them are labeled for use on babies and children, but are full of chemicals we shouldn’t be applying to baby’s sensitive skin.

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Apply Liberally, and Reapply

Use sunscreen lotions for best effect and coverage. Sunscreens do wear and wash off. Get them back on while skin is dry and let it have time to absorb into the skin, or they don’t do any good! Remember those hidden places like the back of the ears and in between toes!

Sunscreen DON’Ts

DON’T Avoid Using Sun Protection

It’s just a must. Get your babies covered up and protected, even on cloudy days which can actually be the worst kind for the sun’s UVA rays.           

DON’T Use Aerosol Sunscreens with Propellants

Aerosol sprays contribute to harmful chemicals ingested into sensitive and young lungs. Best to avoid these altogether. If you must spray, make sure you’re in a very open area and have baby’s nose and mouth covered.

DON’T Use Sunblocks Containing Harmful Chemicals

Especially avoid Oxybenzone and Retinyl palmitate. Oxybenzone can act like estrogen in the bloodstream and causes allergic skin reactions. Retinyl palmitate is an inactive ingredient which causes extreme sensitivity to sunburns. Just avoid them altogether.

The EWG recommends the sunscreens below, available here on Babywise, in their most recent list of the Best Scoring Sunscreens Lotions for Kids.

This season, soak up the sun, and stay safe and protected friends!

Badger SPF 30 Baby Sunscreen - Chamomile & Calendula 2.9 Oz

SPF 30 Baby Sunscreen - Chamomile & Calendula 2.9 Oz

$ 13.59

Pediatrician Tested and Approved Baby Sunscreen Contains Organic Ingredients Broad spectrum protection from UVA & UVB rays using the safe mineral Zinc Oxide No oxybenzone, octinoxate, or other chemical active sunscreening agents. Water resistant for at least 40 minutes. Certified Organic base of Sunflower Oil, Beeswax & Vitamin E is ultra-moisturizing and soothing. Pediatrician tested & approved safe for babies & kids. Non-Comedogenic & Hypoallergenic - safe for sensitive...


SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen 2.9 Oz

$ 13.32

This simple, safe & moisturizing sport sunscreen is made for extreme sports such as surfing and mountain biking. Our most water resistant sunscreen!One of our simplest sunscreens, just 5 ingredients and no added scent! Water & sweat resistant for at least 80 minutes of swimming or activity. Broad spectrum protection from UVA & UVB rays using the safe mineral Zinc Oxide No oxybenzone, octinoxate, or other chemical active sunscreening...

Badger SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen 2.9 Oz
Badger SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Cream Tangerine & Vanilla 2.9 Oz

SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Cream Tangerine & Vanilla 2.9 Oz

$ 13.32

Broad spectrum protection from UVA & UVB rays using the safe mineral Zinc Oxide No oxybenzone, octinoxate, or other chemical active sunscreening agents. 100% Certified Natural and 95% Certified Organic. Water & sweat resistant for 40 minutes of swimming or activity. Hypoallergenic - safe for the most sensitive skin. Smells great! Lightly fragranced with non-photosensitizing essential oils of Tangerine & Vanilla in a gentle Sunflower Oil base. Only six...


SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream - Lavender 2.9 oz

$ 13.59

This simple, safe and moisturizing sunscreen cream is perfect for the beach and pool, as well as light activities like hiking and biking. Water & Sweat Resistant for up to 40 minutes of swimming or activity 100% Certified Natural 98% Certified Organic (plus water and natural minerals) With the light fragrance of Bulgarian Lavender, in an antioxidant-rich Sunflower base All Badger Sunscreens are Safe, Effective & Responsible ...

Badger SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream - Lavender 2.9 oz

Renaissance Woman Jen Reyneri and her husband Luis often live life on the road with their two home-schooled sons. Popular author and speaker, Jen is founder of Spirited and spirit filled, she savors life, poetic words, sabbaticals and strong coffee.

Connect with @JenReyneri on Instagram & Twitter


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