Best kid-friendly sunscreen to stock up on this summer

Here's a roundup of kid-friendly sunscreens. (Getty/File)

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It’s that time of year when parents at the schoolyard and playground mull over the question: What’s more challenging, putting on a snowsuit or lathering your kid with sunscreen? My answer changes every season.

As the sun gets stronger, making sure our kids are protected during the day is important. And there’s no shortage of sunscreens to choose from—creams and sprays, natural zinc options or chemical-based. What’s best? That depends on your kids and what’s manageable. I’ve heard the advice time and time again over the years: the best sunscreen is the one you’ll actually use.

Here’s a roundup of kid-friendly sunscreens.


Best value

We have a bottle at both the front and back doors. The kids are just learning how to spray their arms and legs, so we can go through a fair bit of sunscreen in a short amount of time. It’s also a good idea to pack a bottle in their backpack for camp and ask the counselors to give them a quick spray mid-day.
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Best for the face

Even if you prefer a spray sunscreen, when it comes to the face, I find a cream is best. Aveeno’s hydrating sunscreen cream, which is oxybenzone-free and sweat- and water-resistant.


Best chemical-free


The Thinkbaby sunscreen line is a go-to for many parents. Its formula is free of biologically harmful chemicals, and it contains no Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, or UV chemical absorbers. It’s also water-resistant for 80 minutes. When it comes to chemical-free sunscreens, I find this one the easiest to apply.


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There’s also a spray option that is great for active kids who will be spending lots of time outside this summer. It’s safe for kids with sensitive skin and doesn’t leave behind a sticky residue.
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You can also keep a few sticks in your purse, diaper bag or backpack!


Best for touch-ups

Don’t forget to tuck a sunscreen stick in their bags for a mid-day top-up! This Neutrogena kids’ stick is perfect for small hands and glides on easily. Just tuck it in their backpack and cross your fingers that they remember to use it.
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If you’re looking for a mineral version, the plant-based Baby Bum is a solid option. If your kids hate getting cream smeared on their face and rubbing it in, a few swipes with this stick and they’re good to go. The brand recommends starting at the forehead and work your way down.


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