Each year, I check out the Environmental Working Group's Guide to Sunscreens to find the safest sunscreens for kids. With a slew of fair-skinned redheads in my family, I feel like I go through gallons of sunscreen each summer, and while I'm not all-organic-all-the-time, I do tend to splurge on lotions that are safer for my kids and lower in chemicals since we use so much of them all season.
Related: What is the safest sunscreen for kids and babies?
If you haven't yet been to the site, EWG ranks an impressive 1700 products, from spray sunscreen to lip balm with SPF, and scores them (lower numbers are better) based on factors ranging from misleading marketing to toxins you should avoid. In other words, take some of the ratings with a grain of salt; a rating of 3 isn't necessarily worse than a rating of 1, and sometimes an ingredient like lavender, for example, will get dinged, which may or may not be an ingredient you are wildly concerned about. If you have a favorite sunscreen that scores a 3, go ahead and use it with confidence.
But for the sake of this list, we stuck with our favorite brands of the top sunscreens specifically made for -- or marketed for -- kids, that all scored the lowest ratings of 1 or 2.
(Edited to add: The post has been updated for a more complete list)
We left out a few that we've tried but aren't fans of ourselves, or those that aren't widely available in the US. There may be others on the EWG list you may love too! If so, we'd love to hear about them.
Also know that safer pretty much means more expensive. Buying larger quantities can help with that but you can definitely see the wide fluctuation in prices here.
And remember, of course, that SPF 80 doesn't mean you can stay on the beach all day without reapplying sunscreen. In fact as the EWG reminds you on every page, sunscreen should be your last resort after protective clothing, hats, sunglasses and shade. But we hope this guide will be really helpful as you figure out what to put on your babies to keep them a little safer.
(All these products available through our affiliate Amazon, or lots of drugstores and natural food stores near you)
Safest Sunscreen Lotions for Kids
Adorable Baby Clear Baby Sunscreen Lotion | $25 for 4.3 oz
Alba Botanical Very Emollient Mineral Sunscreen Kids | $10 for 4 oz
Arbonne Baby Care Sunscreen | $30 for 6 oz
Aubrey Organics Natural Sun for Kids | $31 for 8 oz (2-pack)
baby pibu Baby Sunscreen | $24 for 4 oz
Babyganics Mineral-based Sunscreen Lotion |$13 for 6 oz
Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream (and 9 other sunscreen products) | $13 for 3 oz
Biosolis Sun Milk Face & Body Organic Sunscreen | $21 for 3.4 oz (also available at Amazon for $49)
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Baby | $26 for 8.75 oz
Babytime! By Episencial Sunny Sunscreen | $11 for 2.7 oz
Butterbean Bimple Sunscreen | $16 for 4 oz at their website
California Baby Summer Blend Sunscreen (and 5 other sunscreen products) | $22 for 3 oz
Earth's Best Mineral Sunscreen Lotion | $16 for 4 oz
Elemental Herbs Sunscreen Kids | $16 for 3 oz
Goddess Garden Sunny Kids Natural Sunscreen | $16 for 6 oz
Jersey Kids Sunscreen | $19 for 2 oz
Nature's Gate Mineral Kids Block | $10 for 4 oz
MD Moms Baby Silk Sunscreen Lotion | $22 for 2.7 oz
Sunumbra Family Sunscreen Lotion | $33 for 8.4 oz (but find a 30% off coupon on their site)
Beyond Coastal Kids Natural Sunscreen | $16 for 4 oz
Sunology Natural Sunscreen Kids Lotion | $25 for 2 oz
Safe Harbor Natural Suncare Baby and Kids Sunscreen | $11.50 for 3 oz
Thinksport Kids Safe Sunscreen | $13 for 3 oz
Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen | $10 for 3oz
TruBaby Everyday Play Sunscreen | $14 for 2 oz
True Natural Baby and Family Sunscreen | $19 for 3.4 oz
Belly Buttons and Babies Sunscreen | $22 for 4 oz at their site
Safest Sunscreen Sticks for Kids
100% Pure Everywhere Sun Stick | $14.00 for 0.6 oz
Adorable Baby Sunscreen Stick | $15 for .86 oz
All Terrain KidSport Face Stick | $9 for 0.6 oz
Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Stick Sunscreen | $10 for 0.6 oz
Badger All Season Face Stick (and 9 other sunscreen products)| $11 for 0.6 oz *
Burt's Bees Baby Bee Sunscreen Stick | $10 for .7 oz
Star Naturals Baby Sunscreen Stick | $12 for .74 oz
Babyganics Pure Mineral Sunscreen Stick | $14 for .94 oz (2-pack)
The Honest Company Honest Sunscreen Stick | $18 for 0.5 oz
TruKid Daily Sunscreen Face & Body Stick | $10 for 0.6 oz
Bare Belly Organics Sunscreen Body Stick (and 5 other products)| $15 for 2.6 oz, at their site
Safest Sunscreen Sprays for Kids
Note: All of the sprays are docked a point or two simply for the form factor -- sprays evidently can pose a risk for kids to inhale the fumes. So we say, if you want to balance the convenience (because sprays really are super convenient) with the ability of your kids to hold their breath for a few seconds, these are some terrific options. They all scored a 3 from EWG, so they're the ones to pick if you want the ease of a sunscreen spray.
Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Spray, Unscented | $12 + shipping for 6 oz
All Terrain AquaSport Sunscreen Spray | $14 for 3 oz
COOLA Suncare Sport Sunscreen Spray | $32 for 6 oz
Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen Spray | $13 for 6 oz
Bare Republic Natural Mineral Sunscreen Spray | $15 for 6 oz, Target
Goddess Garden Kids Natural Sunscreen Trigger Spray | $17 for 8 oz
If your favorite brand of sunscreen for kids is on here, awesome. If you want to remember the list when you're at the shelf (should you not buy this stuff through Amazon from the comfort of your couch), download the EWG's Skin Deep mobile app to get all the info I want on any of your cosmetic purchases, not just sunscreen. It makes shopping for safe products so much easier.
Also, don't miss the EWG Sunscreen Hall of Shame, featuring some pretty awful results for some pretty big brands. Factors include the inclusion of oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate, an SPF value over 50, or a spray sunscreen format.