In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

The 3 Best Sunscreens for Babies

We tested kid sunscreens from top brands like TruKid, Blue Lizard, Thinkbaby, and more to find the best
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Best Sunscreen Review (We purchased all products in our review for hands-on testing to evaluate the competition and create a comprehensive...)
We purchased all products in our review for hands-on testing to evaluate the competition and create a comprehensive review.
Credit: Abriah Wofford
By Molly Bradac ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Wednesday May 15, 2024

Need kid-friendly sunscreen? We've got the scoop. We've researched, purchased, and tested over 25 contenders before choosing the top 7 sunscreens available today. Our review includes mineral-based sunscreen offering broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, and we evaluated each option for ease of use, consistency, eco-health, and more. Let our hard work make your life easier. Our recommendations will guide you to the perfect product that meets your needs so you can feel good no matter which sunscreen you apply to your child's skin.

Prioritizing the health and safety of your child is essential, and our favorite baby health and safety gear list includes all the best products for everyday needs or times when they fall ill. We've also tested products for outdoor safety gear, like the best bug sprays for kids, top-ranked bike helmets for kids, the best kids lifevests.

Editor's Note: This sunscreen review was updated on May 15, 2024. The review update included more information on how we test and buy advice.

Top 7 Baby Sunscreens - Test Results

Displaying 1 - 5 of 7
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Value Award   
Price $24 List
$12.95 at Amazon
$27 List
$12.50 each at Amazon
$15.00 List
$12.62 at Amazon
$24 List
$16.41 at Amazon
$20.00 List
$19.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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62
59
59
56
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Pros Eco-healthy, easy to apply, nearly sheerSuper easy to spray and rub in, sheer and leaves no white castMore for your money, non-greasy, easy to applyAffordableEco-friendly
Cons Slightly greasyNot travel-friendlyUpfront costNot fragrance-free, requires effort to rub inHard to spread and rub in, leaves skin white and greasy
Bottom Line An eco-healthy sunscreen that goes on smoothly and leaves a sheer finishWhile potentially not backpack-friendly, this sunscreen is a stellar option to spray and rub in, leaving no white castGreat non-greasy, non-sticky formula with a bottle that turns pink to remind you UV rays are present and it's time to applyA sunscreen that offers a faint fruity scent and leaves a slight white tinge on the skinEco-friendly plant-derived sunscreen great for everyday use
Rating Categories Babo Botanicals Bab... Babyganics Sunscree... Blue Lizard Baby Thinkbaby SPF 50 TruKid Sunny Days S...
Ease of Use (35%)
8.0
3.0
5.0
8.0
8.0
Consistency (40%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
4.0
2.0
Eco-Health (25%)
9.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Specs Babo Botanicals Bab... Babyganics Sunscree... Blue Lizard Baby Thinkbaby SPF 50 TruKid Sunny Days S...
SPF Rating 50 50+ 50+ 50 30
Active Ingredient Non-Nano Zinc Oxide (20%) Octisalate (5%), Zinc Oxide (15%) Titanium Dioxide (8%), Zinc Oxide (10%) Non-Nano Zinc Oxide (20%) Non- Nano Zinc Oxide (20%)
Reef Safe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes


The Best Sunscreens


Overall Best for Babies & Kids


Babo Botanicals Baby Skin


75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 8.0
  • Consistency 6.0
  • Eco-Health 9.0
REASONS TO BUY
Eco-healthy
Lightweight & nearly sheer
Easy-to-use bottle
REASONS TO AVOID
Slightly greasy
SPECIFICATIONS
Active Ingredient Non-Nano Zinc Oxide (20%)
SPF Rating 50
Reef Safe Yes
We want to avoid sunburns, but we also want to feel good about what we're applying to delicate skin, and the Babo Botanicals Baby Skin is an eco-healthy option. This mineral-based product is fragrance-free and offers a broad-spectrum formulation with a water resistance of 80 minutes. This product is free of gluten, soy, and dairy for those with allergies. It's easy to apply, comes out smoothly, and absorbs into the skin, leaving a nearly sheer appearance.

It can leave skin feeling slightly greasy, but it's less dramatic than some contenders in our lineup. We think this is a small price, given the trade-off of a healthier option. If budget is a concern, you get a lot of lotion for a smaller price with the Blue Lizard Baby. As a reminder, this product is water-resistant, not waterproof, so if you're planning a pool day, be sure to reapply following the product's directions. We highly recommend this product as an all-around great sunscreen for babies and kids.

sunscreen
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Bang for the Buck


Blue Lizard Baby


59
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 5.0
  • Consistency 6.0
  • Eco-Health 7.0
REASONS TO BUY
Easy to apply
Fragrance & gluten-free
More for your money
REASONS TO AVOID
Messy bottle cap
SPECIFICATIONS
Active Ingredient Titanium Dioxide (8%), Zinc Oxide (10%)
SPF Rating 50+
Reef Safe Yes
In addition to its fun trademark bottle that turns color when exposed to UV rays, there is a lot to love about Blue Lizard Baby. It contains a mixture of active mineral ingredients (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) that are excellent for full spectrum UVA/UVB coverage. It is also fragrance-free and contains no gluten, making it a potential fit for those with sensitivities. We appreciate that it rubs in easily (especially for a mineral-based product), and its oil-water emulsion consistency is not greasy or sticky. This brand is also available in a Blue Lizard Sensitive formulation with the same active ingredients, SPF rating, and performance.

Since the formulation can separate, shaking the container well before use is essential. Also, the Lizard's cap is frequently messy as the formula accumulates. Wiping the top after the application can help, but we wish the extra steps weren't needed. If you don't mind navigating this issue, you may find this option satisfactory for your needs. If you were hoping for some kind of spray that makes bottle top clean-up less of a concern, the Babyganics Sunscreen Spray is a nice option. Unlike traditional sprays, it is not an aerosol, and it sprays primarily on skin and not in the air. Overall, Blue Lizard offers a bigger bottle than much of the competition and could result in less frequent purchases, waste, and money spent.

sunscreen
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Spray Option


Babyganics Sunscreen Spray


62
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 3.0
  • Consistency 9.0
  • Eco-Health 6.0
REASONS TO BUY
Super easy to apply
Non-greasy
No white hue
REASONS TO AVOID
Not travel-friendly
SPECIFICATIONS
Active Ingredient Octisalate (5%), Zinc Oxide (15%)
SPF Rating 50+
Reef Safe Yes
We opted for lotions over sprays due to aerosolization, but we were excited to come across the Babyganics Sunscreen Spray, an air-powered non-aerosol spray. This spray is super easy to apply compared to lotions, and we genuinely enjoy how effortless it is to spread and cover an area. Plus, it's practically transparent on the skin, which may matter for those who don't like the white hue look. Older children preferred this option when applying themselves during testing.

One downfall of this product is that the plastic cap can easily fall off in a bag, and since it doesn't take much effort to spray the bottle, a mess can occur. Also, this option includes Octisalate. While the jury is out on this chemical, it could be a no-go for those limiting chemicals near little ones and anyone erring on the side of caution. If this is you, Babo Botanicals Baby Skin might be the better choice as it does not include this chemical and has other fantastic qualities. Since we don't have any information about this ingredient, we don't know if it concerns us. As a reminder, while using this product, be mindful of wind and keep it away from faces. It is helpful to spray the product into your hands before applying it to your child's face or nearby. Nonetheless, if you seek a non-aerosol spray, this option may fit your needs.

sunscreen
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Aerolized Sunscreen Spray
Aerosolized sunscreen sprays may ease application, but they create a cloud with particles so small you can inhale them. We don't think it is good to inhale aerosolized chemicals, so we didn't include aerosol products in our review. Since products come in non-aerosolized versions, we suggest going that route since there's no need to worry about what you inhale.

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
75
Babo Botanicals Baby Skin
Overall Best for Babies & Kids
$24
Editors' Choice Award
62
Babyganics Sunscreen Spray
Best Spray Option
$27
Top Pick Award
59
Blue Lizard Baby
Best Bang for the Buck
$15
Best Value Award
59
Thinkbaby SPF 50
$24
56
TruKid Sunny Days Sport
$20
56
California Baby Super Sensitive
$28
48
Aveeno Kids Continuous Protection
$16

sunscreen
Credit: 123rf

How We Test


After multiple kid sunscreen reviews and nearly 100 hours of researching and testing, we've gained unique insight and information about this category. Our lineup is a result of over 25 potential contenders. The true colors of any sunscreen begin to emerge once you research ingredients and complete extensive testing, like the differences between chemical and mineral sunscreen products. Side-by-side comparisons help highlight differences among the top contenders. Each product was purchased and tested for ease of use, consistency, and eco-health.

Why Trust GearLab


Our BabyGearLab team includes outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy time in the sun but prefer to avoid all the negative things that can come with it. Leading our review is BabyGearLab founder, Dr. Juliet Spurrier is a board-certified pediatrician, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and a mother of two children. Between motherhood and her pediatrician background, Dr. Spurrier uses her knowledge and experience to guide her product choices, focusing on eco-health and efficacy. Also assisting and contributing to our review are Senior Review Editors, Wendy Schmitz and Molly Bradac. Wendy is a mother of two children and has a degree in biology. She uses her education to help research ingredients from a scientific perspective and a mother's point of view. With a child with Celiac disease, Wendy has a keen eye for selecting products with fewer ingredients and those suitable for sensitive skin or allergies that are also easy to use and budget-friendly. Molly is an experienced childcare provider supporting families over the past 15 years and has created outdoor adventures for kids under her care. Molly has used various kid and baby travel gear, including many UV-protection products. So, whether it's a trip to the swimming pool or a hike, Molly's experience with multiple products brings a unique perspective to our review.

How to Pick the Best Sunscreen


Finding the best sunscreen does not need to be a challenge. With more ingredient transparency and options available, finding the right option for your child and needs is easier than ever.

Consider Ingredients


When it comes to ingredients, we generally think less is more, and you should review any label for ingredients that might irritate sensitive skin or that your child might be allergic to. Whether you choose a mineral or chemical-based sunscreen will largely be a personal choice, but we recommend making yourself aware of what is inside whatever bottle you choose.

What Activity?


We think the activity your little one is participating in is a good way to narrow the field on what protection is best for them. If your little one is swimming or biking, a sports-style product might be more appropriate, as they have formulations for sweating and water. If your baby is largely sitting in a stroller, then a mineral-based option could be the perfect choice. Something else to consider is if your child will be applying sunscreen by themselves or packing in a backpack for school or camp. Finding an easy-to-use bottle with lotion, you can easily rub in might increase compliance.

The Babyganics non-aerosol spray is appealing for its ease of...
The Babyganics non-aerosol spray is appealing for its ease of application, offers excellent coverage, and leaves no white cast.
The Blue Lizard bottle changes color once exposed to UV rays. This...
The Blue Lizard bottle changes color once exposed to UV rays. This feature is fun for children and acts as a reminder to apply sunscreen.

Analysis and Test Results


We believe safe and effective sunscreen should have an easy-to-use bottle with no mess, a formula consistency that goes on smoothly, feels good to wear, and yet be eco-healthy. These factors drove testing and overall score results.


Value


Most people think sunscreen is for summertime; however, that's not the case. It's vital to apply rain or shine whenever you spend time outdoors. Plus, you'll need to frequently reapply sunscreen according to a product's directions to maintain sun protection. So, a product's price tag could be a driving factor in the decision-making process if your budget is tighter. Among the competition, the Blue Lizard Baby may appear costly, but given its quantity and price per ounce, this option is one of the most budget-friendly. You're getting the most for your money, which will likely last longer than some contenders. It also reduces waste as you will use one bottle instead of 2 or 3 of the competition. If you need a travel-sized container for airplane travel, the Thinkbaby SPF 50 is available in three ounces and reasonably priced. This contender does not rub in as easily, but we think you'll be happy with the price if you don't mind the white.

Remember to Reapply
It's easy for time to fly while you're having fun in the sun, which can result in missed reapplications. We recommend setting a timer on your phone as a reminder to reapply sunscreen to help avoid burns and unprotected overexposure. Swimming, sweating, and rubbing on things like backpacks, lifevests, and floaties can increase how often you need to reapply. Better more often than less.

sunscreen - not all sunscreens are created equal, including a product&#039;s bottle...
Not all sunscreens are created equal, including a product's bottle. Some bottles are easy to use and transport worry-free in a diaper bag or a kids' backpack, whereas others can cause issues.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


While evaluating the lineup, we asked two critical questions: Is the bottle easy to use? Will it accidentally pop open in our favorite diaper bag or beach bag? Because let's face it, mineral-based products can stain, which is far from ideal. After hands-on testing and repetitious use, we experienced details that make some products more accessible to use than others.


We did not have one outstanding performer in this metric, but a group of products held the highest-scoring spot, sharing similar scores. This group includes Babo Botanicals Baby Skin, California Baby Super Sensitive, Thinkbaby SPF 50+, and TruKid Sunny Days Sport. These products have similar containers that feel sturdy, have secure lids, and are easy to use.

sunscreen - the plastic cover of the babyganics can pop off while toting around...
The plastic cover of the Babyganics can pop off while toting around in a bag, which increases the likelihood of mess. This flaw reduced the product's ease of use score.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The lowest-scoring product is the Babyganics Sunscreen Spray. This product has a plastic top that can easily pop off, and since it doesn't take much pressure to spray this bottle, we experienced repeated backpack messes throughout a two-week summer camp. These messes mean a waste of product and time spent in cleanup mode.

We frequently dealt with a mess underneath the Aveeno&#039;s lid between...
We frequently dealt with a mess underneath the Aveeno's lid between the Aveeno's formula consistency and its lid design.
The Blue Lizard Baby&#039;s lid also created a mess, causing us to wipe...
The Blue Lizard Baby's lid also created a mess, causing us to wipe the top after each use.

The Aveeno Kids Continuous Protection and Blue Lizard Baby also rank low because thinner formulas can run and leave lids messy, causing splatters when closing the top - an issue we did not experience with other contenders. The last thing you need is a messy bottle covered in sunscreen to shove back in your diaper bag or purse.

sunscreen - each sunscreen differs, and while testing the competition, we...
Each sunscreen differs, and while testing the competition, we completed side-by-side comparisons to evaluate factors regarding a formula's consistency.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Consistency


Not all sunscreen formulas are created equal. Some are easy and quick to apply, while others require effort and lots of excessive rubbing. Adding a wiggly worm child to the mix can be even more challenging. Lucky for you, we did the applying and comparing, so you know the insider details. To score this metric, we considered how easy the sunscreen is to rub in, whether it spreads where you want it to, leaves behind a white cast, and creates a greasy or sticky feeling.


The Babyganics Sunscreen Spray is a top performer in this metric. Honestly, this option is a super-star. It performs how you hope effective sunscreen lotion would. It is easy to spray, spread, and cover with less of a white hue than the competition. And, unlike aerosol sprays, it is not airborne and won't be a nuisance to others nearby or sensitive respiratory tracks of little ones. Conversely, the TruKid Sunny Days Sport and California Baby Super Sensitive score the lowest for consistency. With thick formula consistencies, they require more elbow grease to spread and rub in, plus they leave a more noticeable white hue on the skin.

sunscreen - our review only includes mineral sunscreens, but they each differ in...
Our review only includes mineral sunscreens, but they each differ in ingredients.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Eco-Health


A lot goes into learning about sunscreens and assessing a product's eco-health, particularly its earth-friendly and health-conscious qualities. Lucky for you, we dove in and closely looked at each product's label and ingredients. To score the competition, we researched and compared the lineup for multiple factors, such as whether or not it is USA-made, reef-friendly, fragrance-free, uses organic ingredients, free of common allergens, and its rating on the Environmental Working Group (EWG). This non-profit corporation is committed to healthier living.


The Babo Botanicals Baby Skin is our highest-scoring product. It is made in the USA, is fragrance-free, and avoids gluten, soy, and dairy. The manufacturer's website also includes a long list of excluded ingredients; we appreciate this transparency. According to the EWG, this product has a rating of 2 (they use a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst). This option has one of the best EWG results in the competition.

sunscreen - among the competition, the aveeno has one of the lowest scores in...
Among the competition, the Aveeno has one of the lowest scores in the eco-health metric due to the combination of multiple factors.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The lowest-scoring product in our lineup is the Aveeno Kids Continuous Protection. The Aveeno has a lack of information compared to the others we tested. Although this product is fragrance-free, which is a positive thing, we couldn't locate any information (on the bottle or manufacturer's website) to determine if it is reef-friendly or free of common allergens. Also, to our knowledge, it doesn't use any organic ingredients.

sunscreen - the thinkbaby is not fragrance-free. although the scent is very...
The Thinkbaby is not fragrance-free. Although the scent is very light, consider a different product if you're sensitive to fragrance.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Make Sunscreen Use a Habit
Sun damage can occur any time of the year, and it's cumulative, meaning it can build up as time passes. Therefore, avoiding sun damage may decrease your child's risk of developing skin issues later. Talk to your child's pediatrician about sun protection and sunscreen, and make sun protection a habit.

sunscreen - sun protection is essential, and with multiple options on the...
Sun protection is essential, and with multiple options on the market, it's hard to select a product that works for you and your family. Lucky for you, our review includes the details you need.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Conclusion


Using an effective sunscreen is a necessity for avoiding exposure to the sun's determinantal effects. However, finding a suitable option for a baby's and children's delicate skin can be challenging. Things can become even more complicated if you want unscented or mineral-based lotions. You may not have given it much thought before having a baby, but now that you have a little one to protect, it is even more critical to be prepared before heading to play outside. This review of potential competitors is a great place to find the right sunscreen for your goals and budget. We believe there is something for everyone in this review with chemical-free products and formulations for babies and sensitive skin.

Molly Bradac