11 best sunscreens for kids and babies

WHEN the mercury sky-rockets, whether you're at home or abroad, it's crucial to protect your child's skin against the sun.

The best sunscreens for kids are designed to shield their delicate skin from UVA and UVB rays, while at the same time nourishing and protecting their face and body.

There's a lot of jargon that comes along with sunscreen, but we've taken the stress out of choosing the right product for your family with our selection of the most effective sun protection products available to buy for kids. 

Whether you need sunscreen for a sunny half-term staycation or a summer holiday getaway, the NHS recommend children are protected from March to October by covering up, spending time in the shade between 11am and 3pm and using sunscreen of at least SPF30. They also recommend that babies under six months stay out of the sun completely.

While kids are notoriously tricky to slather in suncream, making it a hated pre-beach task for parents and kids alike – our top tip for applying cream formulas is to use an old make-up brush to gently and slowly brush the cream onto your child's skin, which is a much quicker, more precise and less tantrum-inducing method.

How To Choose Sunscreen For Kids

“Infants and children have sensitive skin which is more prone to damage from the sun than adult skin,” explains Dr. Fiona Worsnop, consultant dermatologist at Stratum Clinics. “As such, it is absolutely vital to practice diligent sun protection and sun avoidance where possible.” 

Suncream, sometimes known as sunscreen or sun lotion, is one of the most effective ways to protect the skin from sun damage. Worsnop recommends that parents should choose one that has both a high SPF and a high UVA rating.  

“SPF stands for sun protection factor,” she says. “It refers to protection against Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, the UV most responsible for sunburn. It is a measure of how much longer you can stay in the sun before burning, compared to wearing no SPF; the higher the SPF on the label, the better the protection it offers." 

What Factor Suncream Should Kids Use?

“For children, you should look for a sunscreen product with a minimum of SPF 30 ideally and you should also look for protection against Ultraviolet A (UVA)—at least a four or five-star rating is recommended,” Worsnop continues.

While suncream is needed to protect against the risk of developing skin cancer, parents need to remember that exposure to water can alter the effectiveness of the product. It also becomes less effective over time. 

“If your child is outside on a hot sunny day it is important to re-apply the sunscreen every two hours, and also re-apply if your child has been sweating or in the water,” advises Worsnop. She also recommends that children under the age of six months avoid strong and direct sunlight. 

For more information on sun safety, please visit the NHS website.

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Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturise Lotion SPF50+

  • Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturise Suncare Lotion, £4 from Boots – buy here

When it comes to budget-friendly sun protection that gets the job done very well, this Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturise Suncare Lotion is the one to beat.

With a 50+ factor and a five-star UVA rating, it's as good as it gets for protecting against the sun's rays for children, plus it's also hypoallergenic and water resistant, making it a great companion for summer days spent in the garden with the paddling pool.

With a squeezy bottle design and medium-consistency formula, it's not the most sophisticated on the market in terms of look and feel, but for the price of it, and level of sun protection it provides, it's a total bargain.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Kids Invisible Spray

  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Kids Invisible Spray, £16 from Boots – buy here

Let's face it, applying suncream is a drag for everyone involved, but you can make the process a whole lot less painful with this invisible spray, which has an ultra-light texture and can be applied super swiftly, leaving more time for fun in the sun.

Made by French pharmaceutical brand La Roche-Posay, the spray lotion offers a very high level of protection, especially for sensitive and fragile skin types.

Suitable for the face and body, it's fragrance-free and water, sweat, and sand resistant, making it the ideal sun care option for active older kids and teens.

Green People Organic Children Scent Free Sun Cream

  • Green People Organic Children Scent Free Sun Cream, £21.50 from Green People – buy here

Containing 84 percent organic ingredients, this sun cream by Green People is a crowd-pleaser amongst eco-conscious parents who love its recyclable, plant-based packaging and reef-safe formula.

Scent-free and super gentle on delicate skin, it has UVA and UVB protection with SPF30. Happy shoppers report that the cream formula sinks in nicely and doesn't exacerbate any existing skin conditions.

Solbari Dry-Touch Sunscreen Face SPF 50+

  • Solbari Dry-Touch Sunscreen Face SPF 50+, £40 from Solbari – buy now 

The Australians know a thing or two about sun protection and this high-end sunscreen, which is formulated under the sunny skies of Melbourne, offers the maximum protection for kids rated at SPF 50+, plus it's also water-resistant for up to four hours.

There's no denying it's at the priciest end of the spectrum for children's sunscreens, but Solbari's non-greasy, invisible formula is also a god send for parents trying to slather reluctant kids in sun protection before they venture outside. The lightweight formula rapidly absorbs into skin leaving a non-sticky or shiny finish.

Containing Vitamin E and Aloe vera to soothe skin, its suitable for sensitive skin and all-over body application.

Asda Protect SPF 50+ Cooling Clear Sun Mist

  • ASDA Protect SPF 50+ Cooling Clear Sun Mist, £3.60 from ASDA – buy here

Another bargainous suncream, this ASDA Cooling Clear Sun Mist has picked up praise amongst shoppers for its incredibly low price, yet fantastic sun protection, as it boasts the highest available five-star UVA protection and a high SPF of 50.

It's easy to apply and offers a burst of cool freshness on hot summer days, plus the mist formula is great for getting to hard-to-reach places like behind the ears.

Another bonus is you can pick up this budget-busting beauty while you're on your weekly shop – what's not to love?

Altruist Dermatologist SPF 50 Light Face Fluid 

  • Altruist Dermatologist SPF 50 Light Face Fluid, £17.55 from Amazon – buy now 

Designed by a UK dermatologist, this face fluid has earned over 8,000 five-star ratings on Amazon for its excellent sun protection, fast absorption and non-sticky feel.

It has a five-star ultra UVA rating and delivers broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB radiation. The lotion also includes Vitamin E to prevent cellular damage from UV-induced free radicals and reactive oxygen species. It is dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and water-resistant.  

The formula is designed for sensitive skin, so it's suitable for children and the brand also has an invisible spray for kids who are not keen on creams.

Best of all, buying from Altruist means you're also giving back as 10p from every product sold is donated to charities supporting people with albinism. 

Childs Farm SPF 50+ Roll-On Sun Lotion  

  • Childs Farm SPF 50+ Roll-On Sun Lotion, £7.99 from Boots – buy now 

Dry, sensitive or eczema-prone skin will be well looked after with this roll-on by Childs Farm, a company that specifically develops products for children's delicate skin.

This unfragranced lotion comes in the form of a roll-on, which our small reviewer not only tolerated when we put it on them; they decided it was fun enough to put on themselves, making marks on their arms and legs. The compact packaging and roll-on design also make it perfect for throwing in your school or beach bag when you're on the go.

This formula is water-resistant with a SPF rating of 50+, protecting against UVB and UVA rays. It feels light on the skin, making it easy to rub in to maximise skin coverage. 

Banana Boat Advanced Kids Sun Protection Lotion with SPF 50

  • Banana Boat Advanced Kids Sun Protection Lotion with SPF 50, £10.57 from Amazon – buy here

Born on Florida's sun-scorched Miami Beach in the 70s, Banana Boat has been protecting families from harmful rays for decades.

With an SPF of 50, this cream formula offers high UVA and UVB protection, it's fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and water resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Shoppers say the lightweight formula repels sand well, making it easy to brush off, so sticky sand-covered toddlers are no longer a beach-day stress.

Heliocare 360° Pediatrics Atopic Lotion Spray

  • Heliocare 360° Pediatrics Atopic Lotion Spray, £32.99 from Heliocare – buy now

This spray is light and hydrating for the skin and can be used on sensitive and eczema-prone skin (also known as atopic skin). The trigger for the bottle is easy to lock and unlock, meaning no leaks in your beach bag, and the lotion is free of fragrance and alcohol. It is also water-resistant, making it a necessity for days out at the water park. 

It has an SPF rating of 50+ and a PA rating, a UVA rating from Japan, of ++++, which measures 'Extremely High UVA protection.'

The spray bottle also makes it very quick to put on, so say goodbye to endless struggles with your wriggly toddler. 

NIVEA SUN Kids Coloured Suncream Spray SPF50+ 

  • NIVEA SUN Kids Coloured Suncream Spray SPF50+, £6 from Boots – buy now 

Developed specifically for children’s skin, this sun spray comes out a vivid blue, so it's much easier to identify exactly where it's landed on your child's skin, avoiding any accidental patches of sunburn.

The brand claims this lotion is 'extra water-resistant', plus it has an SPF rating of 50+ and a UVA rating of four stars, providing immediate protection against UVA and UVB rays. 

Solait Kids Sun Cream Spray SPF50+

  • Solait Kids Sun Cream Spray SPF50+, £4.99 from Superdrug – buy here

The chunky trigger-spray bottle of this Solait Kids Sun Cream Spray is enough for children to get excited at the prospect of spraying themselves with cream, which earns it major points from parents.

It has five-star UVA and UVB protection, it's paediatrician approved and extra water resistant, so it's the ideal companion for a trip to the seaside or water park.

The lotion has a green appearance when it's sprayed out, so there's no danger of missing spots on your child, and many reviewers say that it smells pleasant and feels moisturising on skin.

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Now you've got your child's sun protection sorted, are you looking for a grown-up SPF? Then head over to our round-up of the best sun creams.

Enjoyed our edit of the best sunscreens for kids? For more parenting recommendations, head over to our dedicated Sun Selects parenting page.

We’re all about helping you find the best products at the best prices, so be sure to check out more of Sun Selects’ recommendations.

 

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