Every year as the mercury rises and families spend more time outside in the sun with their children, an inevitable question arises: is sunscreen safe for my baby? Well, that depends.
As we mentioned in our Baby Care Dos and Don’ts for Summer last week, babies younger than six months old should not wear sunscreen. Their skin is just too thin and sensitive at this point, and their bodies are less effective than adults at fending off toxins. But what about when they reach six months? And then become toddlers? Is sunscreen suddenly safe?
Unfortunately, the answer’s not that simple. There are opposing viewpoints on this topic. Several government and medical institutions maintain that sunscreen use is safe after six months old and is effective for protecting from sun burns and skin cancer. They also emphasize lack of credible data that point to any health risks of using sunscreen. There are many organizations, however, including the Environmental Working Group (EWG), that warn against absorbing endocrine disrupting chemicals such as oxybenzone–a common sunscreen ingredient–into our bodies.
While there are certainly credible arguments from each side, parents of young children are understandably cautious, and some chose sunscreens with minimal potentially harmful ingredients, which I do recommend. According to the EWG, here are some of the best sunscreen lotions for kids in 2016:
- Adorable Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+
- All Good Kid’s Sunscreen, SPF 33
- All Terrain KidSport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
- ATTITUDE Little Ones 100% Mineral Sunscreen, Fragrance Free, SPF 30
- babyhampton beach*bum sunscreen, SPF 30
- Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30
- Bare Belly Organics Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Belly Buttons & Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
- Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Baby, SPF 30+
- BurnOut Kids Physical Sunscreen, SPF 35
- California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen, SPF 30+
Here are a few of their worst scoring kid’s sunscreens:
- Banana Boat Kids Max Protect & Play Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
- Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
- Coppertone Sunscreen Continuous Spray, Kids, SPF 70
- Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Kids, SPF 70+
- Coppertone Foaming Lotion Sunscreen Kids Wacky Foam, SPF 70+
- Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+
- CVS Baby Sunstick Sunscreen, SPF 55
- CVS Kids Wet & Dry Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+
- Equate Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
- Hampton Sun Continuous Mist Sunscreen For Kids, SPF 70
- Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+
- Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 70+
- Up & Up Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
That said, until there are substantial studies either proving safety or revealing harmful effects of slathering ourselves and our children with synthetic chemicals, shade, wearing a hat and covering up with breathable clothing are the ideal sun protection solutions!