46 answers

What's a Good Sunblock for Toddlers?

My 3 yrs old son has really sensitive skin. I use Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 and he still gets really red and easily burns, especially the face. Do any of you ladies know a really good sunblock that works? Hopefully not too expensive though. Thanks.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your recommendations of sunblocks/sunscreens and the for the web sites.

http://www.naturemoms.com/blog/2008/04/21/safe-sunscreens/ &

They were very helpful.

I'm leaning toward California Baby, Arbonne or Aveeno Baby. They all contain Zinc Oxide and I like that. And I'm going to keep the SPF lower too. I don't think he needs anything higher than 30. We don't play out in the sun often, esp. living up here in the Pacific North West, not much sun and these sunscreens are good all year round for daily coverage of UV A and UV B. Thanks agian... =0)

Featured Answers

Definetly Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunblock- they now make SPF 55, it is great, and also is waterproof :)

We use Banana Boat no tears ever since my daughter screamed forever when she got some water babies in her eye. They even make a spray on one - so much eaiser for the squirmy kids.

We also cover her up. You can buy sun shirts and shorts that block the uvb/uva rays and still keep a kid cool. Hats and sunglasses as well.

Aveeno baby, 55 spf. My daughter is very pale and she breaks out easily, this is the only kind so far that she hasn't had a reaction to

More Answers

California Baby makes a nice Arbonne-type sunscreen that is cheaper. And do get a swim top--clothing woven to SPF 50 that is made for swimming in. We got one at Babies R Us that matches her swim diaper.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.:

I know you have a lot of responses, but no one has really said this yet. A lot of people have misconceptions about sunscreens. Choosing a sunscreen with the highest SPF isn't going to give you the best protection.

To get a high Sun Protection Factor, the chemical content of sunscreen has to be extremely high. Many people actually suffer chemical burns from their sunscreen instead of sunburns and wonder why their sunscreen isn't protecting them.

Anyone with sensitive skin (like many young children) are especially prone to this. Sunscreens with an SPF higher than 30 is likely to give someone a chemical burn. I believe in your case especially, finding a sunscreen in the 25-30 range that is from a more "natural product" company is going to be your best choice. Typical store brands that are usually more cost effective generally use lower grade screens wth high chemical content that is too harsh for sensitive skin. You will also notice that a more natural branded screen will not have such a strong odor.

It can also be good to understand what SPF is to make better choices. Sun Protection Factor is a way to determine the length of time a person can be in the sun before burning. For example, an SPF of 10 means a person can stay in the sun 10 times longer than they could without the protection. To really determine the SPF needed, it is good to know how long you can actually be in the sun without burning. If it takes 25 minutes to burn in the sun, you can build from there to determine how much SPF you need. If it's 10 minutes, same thing. If you have an SPF of 10, that would give you 100 minutes in the sun without burning. If your SPF is 20 then 200 minutes, 30 would be 300 minutes (5 hrs. which is generally longer than most parents allow their children to be outside), etc.

Sunscreens with Zinc Oxide are generally most effective, fyi.

I hope this helps. If you need any brand suggestions, just let me know.

1 mom found this helpful

I like Banana Boat & Aveno. The trick is to put sunscreen on before you get dressed! remember that it needs to be on for 20 minutes before it is effective. And most people do not use enough - lube up!! Reapply. And if you do get burned reapply even if you are not in the sun anymore, and take tylenol, these seem to help stop the buning process. And then get some of Aloette's Nutri-Hydrating Mist it is 90% purified Aloe Vera in a spray.

Only really natural one I could find that works is by Aubrey at New Seasons. Smells great too.

My pediatrician for my 2 month old said that if I have to use sunscreen to just get a good sensitive skin one for adults. She said the baby ones tend to be oil and waterproof so they sweat underneath it.

We use Banana Boat no tears ever since my daughter screamed forever when she got some water babies in her eye. They even make a spray on one - so much eaiser for the squirmy kids.

We also cover her up. You can buy sun shirts and shorts that block the uvb/uva rays and still keep a kid cool. Hats and sunglasses as well.

I found that Banana Boat had a great waterproof sunblock for kids that had great staying power. Used it on a trip to the Gulf of Mexico. Normally I use Coppertone but my sister had the Banana Boat and it worked much better. I even used it on myself and I tend to burn within half an hour.

I love Alba Botanicals for kids!

the best one i found is sun avoidance or covering up with long sleeves, long pants & a sun hat with wide brim as well as staying in the shade. i do not like the cheicals for kids.
try it if you have not already & see if that helps at all. itis hrd, but doable for the skin health of your child. i'vehad two surgeries as ann adult for sun damage/skin cancer as we knew so little about this when I was growing up so just went outin the sun all day. with my fair skin that was a recupe fr later trouble!
hope this helps your little one,

i just used Aveeno Baby 55 SPF for the first time this past weekend & we were out watching daddy at the Pole, Peddle, Paddle on Saturday. no pink skin anywhere on Abby. the best thing was, it's not greasy or oily.

Netrogena Sensitive Skin, my daughter is allergic to everything else!

Definetly Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunblock- they now make SPF 55, it is great, and also is waterproof :)

I'm really surprised by that. Make sure it's a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Make sure you apply it 30 mins before sun exposure and keep applying it all day. Also, they have special lightweight clothes you can buy to protect the skin, and don't forget the hat!

My son has red hair and very sensitive skin to go with it. I used Water Babies, and it didn't work for us, he still got pink/red/burned.
The last 3-4 summers I have used Coppertone Kids Continuous Spray SPF 50, and it's $8.99 (and it will last all summer). It's the best sunscreen I have ever used for him. It's waterproof and the spray has never clogged, the spray trigger locks at the top. I take it everywhere! And, it doesn't have that sticky icky sunscreen feeling on the skin. I spray it on his arms & legs, and rub it in. I spray it on my hands to get his face, ears, and neck. If he takes his shirt off, I spray his body without rubbing it in.
It's in a turquiose can with a royal blue spray top. I just got some a few days ago.
But for any sunscreen to work-you have to apply it 20-30 minutes before they go outside. And then re-apply it if you have towel dryed them or after 4 hours or so.
I have wasted my time and money on different sunscreens, and this one is the best.
Also, I got him a swim shirt with his swimming trunks. He is sensitive to wet clothing, and the swim shirts are made of nylon, so they dry quickly, they protect my son from the sun (his shoulders would get it the worst). You can get swim shirts at Old Navy and Target.

Hawaiian Tropic SPF 80 at K-mart.

I've always used coopertone on my sensitive little guys also. Now I use the spray version and I re-apply it often. I think that is what helps. Just keep re-apply every few hours. The spray makes it easy to do.

I like Banana Boat Kids SPF 50 much better than Water Babies. It doesn't cause red eyes or run when they get sweaty like Water Babies always seemed to do to my kids. They have a great deal on it at Costco right now. You spray it on in a fine mist and barely have to rub it in at all. If your son is still burning, you may want to look into a UPF blocking rash guard (surfer shirt). Target has some that are fairly inexpensive.

Alba makes great sunblocks that are really natural without all the chemicals - you can find the line at PCC and I think they are around $8. There are light natural scents or fragrance free ones. I highly recommend this line. There are some others that are good too - I think it is Nature's Gate that makes one for kids that is SPF 30 - it has a white bottle with a purple top and says it is for kids. Check them out! My daughter was totally allergic to that Coppertone Waterbabies - it made her skin irritated and itchy. These other products from PCC work great!

I would stay away from anything with sports block in it. This may be what he is having problems with. I can't use mos of the sun blocks out there due to the agents in them that make them stay on like the sports stuff. Not to mention you have to use a putty knife to scrape it off. I would talk to a skin doctor to get some advice if I were youor even contact a few of the companies themselves like Aveno who use natural products, to see what they say. Good luck, C. B.

actually yes, It cost a little more than others but is TOTALY WORTH the cost.
in the health food section of stores like fred myers is a product callled "JASON sunbrellas" , this totaly awsome company has several strengths - we have been using the strength for families(spf 36) [ we are all red headed with very pale burn easy skin] & this product works great no burns yet & you have helped animals & the earth all in 1 step. It is a gold colored squeeze bottle.

Or there is the company I shop from Called Melaleuca.com they also have a fabulous sun block that smells great & repels bugs & it helps norish your skin-it also is safe for the whole family even pale skin, delicate babies.
Email me if you want more info on either product & where to get them, ____@____.com, I love to help moms find safe healthy products.
I am very concerned about sunburns & there dangers.

Hi I suggest to use 50+ Spf as long as you have to reapply every 15 to 30 minutes on toddler's skin. Or put light weight umbrella and stick put into the ground or sand to shade (not full sun). Also buy the sunscreen lotion sfp, look for good quality as expensive more longer to stay on the skin. Or buy the wetsuit thin shirt for swim or wet can buy at target they have many different color wetsuit shirt its popular for kids wear them.


try aveeno. the spray i have is spf 70, and the lotion is spf 55. it doesn't have the annoying smell that most have and works very well.

Let me tell you! I was petrified to think about what kind of sunscreen my daughter was going to be able to use since she breaks out in terrible rash from any Johnson's lotion (and a few others)!
I'm a huge sunscreen user and search and read and found a baby sunscreen from Hawaiian Tropic called "Baby faces and tender places" for sensitive skin. It's mostly chemical free and I'm proud to announce: NO RASH! YAY! I found mine at either Kmart or Target (Can't remember) so I'm sure you can find it just about anywhere.

You probably need to find a sunblock that uses minerals instead of chemicals to block the sun. they tend to be expensive, but I have found that with the brand I use, a little goes a long way. It is called Pelsano, but I live in Switzerland, so I don't no if it is available in the states. Also, when swimming outdoors, use a swimming top as well--that reduces the area that needs to be slathered with suncream

You may want to try Arbonne or burts bee's. A brand that is more natural based.

I would try Trukid or California Baby. Both brands do not have parabens or any harmful chemicals. They both work great for my 7 month old. Trukid can be found online and California Baby is sold at Target. TruKid recommends that sunscreen be reapplied every 80 minutes for the best protection.

my daughter has super sensitive skin. She gets so itchy with most brands of lotions or creams. I have had good success with organic sunscreen. I currently use a brand called Aubrey organics which you can get at Whole foods for about $9. I've been happy with it. You need to reapply often but to me-if my daughter isn't screaming she's itchy or has red rash spots all over her..I'll do whatever it takes.
Good luck!!

You might try the Aveeno Baby SPF 55 - it's very thick, almost like zinc oxide, or the Blue Lizard Suncream for Sensitive Skin. Your son could have an allergy to the ingredients in the Coppertone (mine does - especially if you're using the spray, which has a lot of alcohol which irritates skin) rather than actually getting burned.

www.cosmeticdatabase.com is a good website that gives information about skin product safety. It's good for finding sunscreen.

My son is almost 2 and he burns with the water babies too. His eczema acts up with it too. I am going to buy him the mary kay sun block. My good friend has it and she put it on one of her arms and that was the only place she didnt burn this last weekend. I was told the cost for it is $14.00


Both of my kids have extremely sensitive skin. My daughter's sensitive skin is compounded by the fact that she has moderate eczema. The best product I have found for them is the Aveeno Baby. We've never had a problem with it and it's typically under $10 a tube. The only drawback is that it's SUPER thick which can make putting it on more difficult than some of the other ones.

I use the same sunblock but have added those little stickers that signal UV rays....they come in little sea animal shapes and they stick anywhere...when they change to a dark orange, then it's time to come out of the sun....this has worked the best for us in limiting sunburn because it lets me know when she has had enough sun....good luck.

I love aveeno, they make a regular one and one for babies. Nice powdery feel and great smell too!

I found a surprisingly good sunblock at trader Joes, although I don't know if it's good for toddlers it helped me and my younger son who has very light skin. It was 50 too. R.

Hi J.,
I've found this amazing website that will tell you all you need to know about Sunblock for your entire family. It's www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. It shows you the best types of sunblock to use. I've been using Badger Balm spf 30, which uses zinc oxide as the active ingredient. It smells really good, and actually feels great on your skin. I was reading that the chemical to avoid the most when it comes to sunscreen is Oxybenzone. And to look for products that use zinc and titanium as the active ingredients.
I hope this information is helpful to you.

Aveeno baby, 55 spf. My daughter is very pale and she breaks out easily, this is the only kind so far that she hasn't had a reaction to

My son and I get burnt pretty easy. My son just turned 5 and what I've been using on him that seems to help is Banana Boat for Kids with SPF 50. It also protects from both UVA and UVB. :D

I really like Panama Jack. Hard to find but you can order from Amazon. I actually just put in an order today. I love the stuff, I get the 50 kids. My son has sensitive skin and a little exzema but this sunscreen doesn't seem to bother him at all. I have sensitive skin as well and I use it all of the time. It isn't oily and doesn't leave you with that greasy feeling, plus it smells good.

I hate to say it, but my daughter broke out to EVERY SINGLE brand of sunblock. We tried them all (literally). Then we tried the Arbonne baby sunblock (you have to know an Arbonne rep- like a MaryKay rep) and she has NEVER broken out. We had the bottle all summer too. The bummer is that it was about $30 for the bottle.

Good luck.

Have you tried Arbonne products yet? They are free of all scents, dyes, etc. Maybe that would help. You can look online for a consultant.

My son gets very red also, but Coppertone has worked for us. Good luck!!


J., I sell a sunblock specifically made for kids. It's botanical-based with no mineral oil or alcohol. My entire family uses it, even my husband who loves the sun! It's perfect for anyone with sensitive skin. Feel free to call if you are interested. We also have a 45-day money back guarantee. ###-###-####

I use a great sunblock made by one of the best "Green" companies out there. It works great on kids, and I can rest easy knowing that I am not putting chemicals on my kids skin! Its very simple to order, it's an online catalog company, email me and I can tell ya all about it!

Have a great day!

Hi J.,
I have much different expectations about the products I use.

My goal is to give you and everyone else here the resources to determine for your self, if a product is safe or not, based on the ingredients in the product. Just looking at the SPF is not enough:

I am not looking for things that are just less harmful, I am looking for products that I know are not harmful. This is in regards from manufacturing to consumer use.

There are a lot of issues around chemicals not only on our skin but also in the environment, so any product that is chemical based is polluting not only your body and your babies body directly from use, it is also contaminating our water supply (from manufacturing and being washed into the water from our skin) and getting into our food supply from the manufacturing and disposal.

When we make a choice to use a product, we are only thinking of the effect on our body, but the reality of this goes way beyond our limited focus of what is immediately in front of us. Chemical pollution is becoming a bigger and bigger issue every day.

Here are some good resources for you to review if you have the interest in learning more about this, of not only applying chemicals to your body but what they are doing to the world.

Environmental Working Group: http://www.ewg.org/
a non-profit organization based in Washington DC
looking at all the places chemicals are contributing to the decline of our health and in the environment.

Here is also a posting on a website that just reviewed sunscreens for kids: http://www.naturemoms.com/blog/2008/04/21/safe-sunscreens/

And another page you can read about what is known as "body burden" that will give you a better understanding of the magnitude of what I am talking about.

and a list of ingredients to avoid:

so grab your products and look at the ingredients lists...that's the only way to find out if your products are safe. What the label says will not give you any truth around this, you must read the ingredients list....even if it is a product marketed for baby and child.

Even for the person who is making all the best choices they can be eating organic foods, using clean products, etc, etc
they cannot defend themselves from the chemical pollution that is accumulating in our environment.

So the issue is not just this one product for your baby but the multitude of chemicals that we are exposed to daily.

Also, I sell a sunscreen that is free of harmful ingredients, and I know how it is manufactured and I know there are no pollutants created from the manufacturing to the disposal of the product in regards to what goes into the water supply.

Here is a page on my website where you can read more about the issues with chemicals in children's products:

Miessence Reflect Outdoor Balm:


I'm happy to entertain more any questions about the safety of products.

All the best with your baby.

E. E.

Hi J. - Alot of times the higher SPF products sometimes can actually cause a 'chemical burn' rather than the red really being a 'sunburn'. Arbonne Baby Care SPF 30+ is a wonderful product. Great for babies (anyone really) with sensitive skin. Retails online at my website for $22, but if you contact me direct, I purchase in bulk, and would be happy to extend a mamasource discount of 35% for the summer months.


I've had great luck with Bullfrog spray-on sunblock. The spray makes it easy to put on a squirmy kid, and we've never had any burns while using it.

Try an European brand kids. They have slightly different ingredients plus an extra protection that here is not FDA approved and it is found just in the expensive brands.

I use Nutragina's spray on sun screen for my little guy and I. I had trouble with any cream based product, so I went strait to the spray on for my baby.

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