Protecting your baby’s precious skin from the sun is important, and whilst the best advice is to avoid sun exposure completely, especially in babies under six months, this is not always practical. A baby’s skin has hardly any melanin, which is the pigment that helps protect from the sun’s rays, so if your little one is in direct sunlight, keep them covered so the rays don’t hit the skin directly.
Older babies and toddlers can enjoy playing in the sun if they are protected with a high-factor sunscreen. We’ve got everything you need to know about applying sunscreen, and the best on the market here:
How often should I apply sunscreen to my baby?
According to the NHS, babies and children should wear sunscreen between March and October in the UK. The sun protection (SPF) factor should never be any lower than 25, and preferably 50. During the summer months, it should be reapplied every few hours, especially after swimming. If you are going to be in and out of the pool, look for a waterproof sunscreen with a four-star UVA rating.
Can I use one sunscreen for the entire family?
You’ll need to choose a sunscreen specially formulated for babies and toddlers. Not only are these better suited to sensitive skin, they work in a different way. Conventional sunblocks will use chemicals to absorb and dissipate the sun’s rays, whereas children’s sunscreens will often use minerals to create a physical barrier from the sun.
What hours should I keep my children out of the sun?
Of course, it’s not always possible, especially when they are at school or nursery, but the sun is hottest at midday. If your children are outside, ensure they are properly protected during this time.
The best sunscreens for babies and children
It’s worth noting, a lot of these sunscreens will not be recommended on babies younger than six months, when they are advised to be kept out of the sun entirely.
This sunscreen from Green People is a natural sun lotion suitable for children with sensitive skin, or those prone to prickly heat. Offering 97% UVB protection (the rays that cause burning) and high protection against UVA and UVB rays. It’s made from 78% organic ingredients including Aloe Vera, beeswax and avocado, sunflower and olive oil and it’s gentle on eczema and psoriasis. It’s thicker than some of the other products on this list, but it rubs in well. We also love that 30p from the sale of each bottle is donated to the Marine Conservation Society.
With an SPF of 66.8, this water resistant suncream from Childs Farm offers brilliant UVA and UVB protection. It’s water resistant and dermatologist approved for sensitive and eczema-prone skin, in fact, Mums rave about how gentle it is on their eczema-prone babies, who often react to other branded creams. It’s quite thick so only use a small amount when applying. Suitable for babies and children older than six months.
With an SPF of 50, this little tube is a great one to have in the baby bag when out and about. It’s suitable for the whole family, whilst being hypoallergenic, water-resistant and fragrance-free, meaning it’s suitable for babies too. Unlike some of the other sunscreens on this list, this one is more of a milky consistency, meaning it’s not as thick and sticky on the skin – a good choice if you’ve got a fussy toddler who hates having it put on.
It’s small enough to fit in your baby bag, and has a high enough protection to ease any worries that your little ones might be getting burnt. It’s been developed with extra sensitive skin in mind and is water resistant. It’s thick and creamy and a few mums reported on the sunscreen being good for eczema-prone babies.
Suitable for babies from three months, this protective sunscreen has a SPF protection of 50+ and a UVA protection of four stars. The sunscreen is easy to rub in and absorb and washes off your child’s skin easily. It also doesn’t feel overly greasy on the skin, which is good for fussy ones who hate the feel of sunscreen.
A once-a-day sunscreen, P20 has a five star UVA protection and factor 30 SPF. It’s a good choice for school-aged children, or little ones who hate having sunscreen put on and its water resistant and quick drying. It’s got more of an oily texture than most of the creams on this list, and it’s very quick and easy to apply with the spray action. It can stain however, as it is a yellowish colour, so avoid dressing your little one in white clothing after applying.
When your little one’s are school age, it’s a good idea to send them to school with a sunscreen they can re-apply at lunchtime, to ensure they are protected throughout the day. Most little one’s will find a roll-on easier to apply on their own and this SPF 50 stick from SunSense is easily absorbed, pediatrician tested and extra water resistant.
This clever sand resistant formula is non-sticky and easily absorbed to avoid that sticky feeling. It’s water resistant and has a high SPF factor. It’s also a great choice for fussy babies, as it’s quick and easy to apply with the continuous, any angle spray. It’s also a good one for school-aged children to apply to themselves thanks to the mist spray application.
Another one-a-day sunscreen, UltraSun’s Extreme lotion only requires one application in the morning, although reapplication is recommended for complete protection. A good option for tots who hate having sunscreen applied, it’s got a thick consistency and an easy to use pump dispenser. It can take a while to rub into the skin, but it’s worth it for the long protection.