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Last Updated: April 3, 2023

Protecting our kids, and the ocean with reef-safe sunscreen!

Hey fellow parents, it's great to be chatting with you! As a parent myself, I know how worrying it can be when it comes to protecting our little ones from the sun. That's why I'm here to help you navigate the world of baby and children's sunscreen.

Now, we can't just use any old sunscreen for our kids, can we? That's why I always make sure to choose reef-safe mineral sunscreens that not only keep my kids protected but also help keep our oceans and marine life safe.

And let's be real, who wants to deal with harmful chemicals and their potential risks? Not me! That's why I always go for mineral sunscreens that shield my child's skin from those harmful UV rays without any risks of skin irritation or hormone disruption.

So, let's dive into finding the perfect sunscreen for your little one together!

reef safe sunscreen for infants

How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for Your Child

Children and babies have delicate skin, and they need extra protection from sun damage. When choosing sunscreen for children, there are a few things in mind. First, look for a sunscreen that is labeled "broad-spectrum" to ensure it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Second, choose a mineral-based formula because those are less likely to irritate children's sensitive skin.

But that's not all! SPF is also a crucial factor to consider. As parents, we all know that SPF stands for "sun protection factor," but what does that really mean?  I'll explain the difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50, so you can ensure your child has the best protection possible.

our top 10 list of sunscreen for infants

Understanding SPF and Choosing the Right Sunscreen

When it comes to keeping our little ones protected from those sneaky UVB rays, Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is key. But what exactly is SPF? Well, it's a measure of a sunscreen's ability to shield our kids' delicate skin from sunburns caused by UVB rays.

Now, you might be wondering what the difference is between SPF 30 and 50. It's not a huge jump, but an SPF 30 sunscreen blocks about 97% of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks about 98% - every little bit counts! Just remember, even if you go for the higher SPF, it's essential to reapply sunscreen regularly to make sure our little ones are covered. And while sunscreen is essential, it's not the only way to protect against the sun - make sure your kiddos are seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding direct exposure during peak hours.

No matter what SPF level you choose, it's crucial to opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that shields against both UVB and UVA rays. And don't forget to reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating, regardless of the SPF level. Keep those rays at bay, and let's keep our little ones safe and happy in the sun!

Why Reef Safe Sunscreens are Important

Did you know that using reef-safe sunscreens is not only crucial for the ocean's health but also for the health of our little ones?

Traditional sunscreens with harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate can cause severe damage to marine life and bleach coral reefs. It's like putting a killer in your sunscreen! These chemicals can mess with the growth and development of marine organisms, leading to deformities and death. So, if you care about the future of our oceans and the well-being of your family, it's time to switch to reef-safe sunscreens.

Tribord Easybreath Decathlon Full Face Snorkel Mask

Is there sunscreen safe for infants?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends for the little ones under 6 months, keep them in the shade, and if you have to take them out, dress them in protective clothing and hats. Sunscreen is not recommended for these tiny tots, except in a few cases.

For our big babies, the AAP recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and applying it to all the exposed areas of the skin before going outside.

Remember to choose a sunscreen specifically formulated for infants or children, so you can keep them healthy and protected from those nasty UV rays. And don't forget to reapply every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

Sun protection

Mineral Sunscreen versus Chemical Sunscreens

When it comes to protecting your little ones from the sun's harmful rays, mineral sunscreens are the way to go. They're not only safer but also more effective than chemical sunscreens.

Mineral sunscreens, which contain active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, work by creating a physical barrier on the skin that bounces the sun's rays away. This means that the sunscreen sits on top of the skin, like a superhero cape, protecting your child's delicate skin from harm.

Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, are like spies that sneak into the skin to absorb the sun's harmful rays. But beware, they can be harmful to your child's delicate skin and the environment. So, do your child and the planet a favor and choose a mineral sunscreen.

Mineral sunscreens are less likely to cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, making them a safer choice for children. They are also long-lasting and don't break down in the sun like chemical sunscreens, meaning that they provide better and more consistent protection.

Overall, it is highly recommended that you choose a mineral sunscreen for your children, as it provides safer and more effective sun protection without harmful chemicals.

reef safe sunscreen for kids

The Best Reef Safe Mineral Sunscreens for Kids and Babies

We know that with so many options out there, it can be tough to know where to start. But don't worry, I've done the research and handpicked a selection of the safest and most effective mineral sunscreens that are perfect for your children.

All of the sunscreens on this list contain natural ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that create a physical barrier against the sun's harmful rays.

And you can rest easy knowing that they are free from harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can be harmful to both your child's delicate skin and the environment.

Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen for Kids
Beach Bum Kids Sunscreen Stick

One of the best features of this sunscreen is its natural ingredients, including coconut oil and zinc oxide. These gentle ingredients make it perfect for infants and those with sensitive skin.

Zinc oxide also provides a physical barrier against the sun's rays, making it an effective way to prevent sunburn.

In addition to its gentle formula, the Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 also offers broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. This means that it protects against both types of rays that can cause sunburn, skin damage, and even skin cancer.

Baby Bum comes in both a lotion and as a sunscreen stick. 

ThinkBaby Kids Sunscreen SPF 50+

With Thinkbaby sunscreen, parents can confidently protect their child's skin from the sun's harmful rays while being environmentally conscious.

ThinkBaby Sunscreen

Thinkbaby sunscreen is a top-rated and safe sunscreen that is specifically designed for infants, babies, and children.

Its non-nano zinc oxide formulation provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, while also being free from harmful chemicals like avobenzone, oxybenzone, and parabens.

The lightweight and non-greasy formula applies easily and absorbs quickly without leaving any white residue, making it an excellent option for sensitive skin.

Thinkbaby sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and certified by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), ensuring it meets strict safety and environmental standards. 

Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream SPF 40

Badger Baby Mineral Sunblock 40 SPF
Badge Mineral Stick Sunscreen for Kids

Badger Baby Sunscreen SPF 40 is specially formulated with gentle ingredients such as chamomile and calendula, which are known for their soothing and calming properties.

One of the best things about this sunscreen is its non-greasy formula, which makes it easy to apply and comfortable to wear. Unlike other sunscreens that leave a sticky residue on the skin, Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream SPF 40 absorbs quickly and won't clog pores.

The sunscreen is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and also comes in a handy sunscreen stick. 

All Good Kid's Sunscreen SPF 30

All Good Kid's Sunscreen

All Good Kid's Sunscreen SPF 30 is an organic sunscreen specially formulated with natural ingredients like chamomile, green tea, and rosehips and is completely free from harsh chemicals. 

Its lightweight texture ensures that it won't leave a white residue, making it easy to apply and comfortable for your child to wear.

Click the button below to see the current price and any savings on Amazon. 

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Baby SPF 30+

Blue Lizard Mineral Baby Sunscreen
Blue Lizard Mineral Sunscreen Stick

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Baby SPF 30+ has been specially formulated to be gentle on a baby's delicate skin, without the use of harsh chemicals, fragrances, or parabens.

One of the standout features of this sunscreen is its absence of chemical sunscreen agents. Instead, it uses physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect your baby's skin from the sun's harmful rays. These ingredients create a barrier on the skin's surface, reflecting the sun's rays away from the skin.

Another unique feature of this sunscreen is its innovative bottle design. The bottle turns pink when exposed to harmful UV rays, reminding parents to reapply sunscreen and providing an extra layer of protection against sunburn.

Blue Lizard also comes as a sunscreen stick. 

Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin SPF 50

Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin SPF 50
Aveeno baby sunscreen stick

This sunscreen is specially formulated with naturally-sourced zinc oxide and oat extract, which work together to protect your baby's delicate skin from the sun's harmful rays without causing irritation.

Zinc oxide is a physical blocker that forms a protective barrier on the skin's surface to reflect the sun's rays, while oat extract soothes and hydrates the skin.

The Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin SPF 50 has a non-greasy formula that is easy to apply and quickly absorbs into the skin. This means that it won't leave a heavy or sticky residue on your baby's skin, making it comfortable to wear.

Alba Botanica Kids Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30

Alba Botanica Kids Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30 is a high-quality sunscreen that provides effective protection against the sun's harmful rays.

Alba Botanica Kids Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30

Its gentle formula is designed specifically for children's delicate skin, making it safe to use on babies and kids of all ages.

This sunscreen is made with 100% vegetarian ingredients and is free from harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, so parents can feel confident in their choice of sunscreen. 

Its non-greasy and lightweight formula is easy to apply and absorbs quickly, without leaving any white residue. Alba Botanica Kids Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30 is a reliable and safe choice for parents who want to protect their children's skin from the damaging effects of the sun.

Reef-Safe Sunscreen Sticks

Stick sunscreens can be particularly convenient for applying sunscreen to wiggly children, and they can be easily tossed into a beach bag or backpack. As well as the ones mentioned above, another highly recommended stick sunscreen for children and babies comes from Raw Elements.  

Raw Elements

With SPF 30+ broad-spectrum coverage and an active ingredient of 25% non-nano zinc oxide, the Baby + Kids Lotion provides effective protection from UVA and UVB rays. Raw Elements sunscreen is reef-safe, cruelty-free, non-GMO, and comes in zero waste, recyclable, reusable packaging making it perfect for the eco-conscious kid.

Raw Elements Baby & Kids is specifically formulated for children's delicate skin. It contains organic calendula, chamomile, sunflower and coconut to protect and moisturize.

It has a light and creamy formula is easy to apply and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes without stinging the eyes. The sunscreen is organic and certified natural mineral sunscreen that is soy, gluten and nut-free and contains no synthetic chemicals. I

It is also packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for long-lasting protection. 

Raw Elements Baby and Kids Sunscreen

Applying Sunscreen to Children: Tips and Tricks

putting sunscreen on kids

How to Apply Sunscreen to Children Like a Pro

Alright kiddos, it's time to protect that precious skin of yours from the big, bad sun! Here's how to apply sunscreen like a pro:

Step 1: Choose the right sunscreen. You want a mineral sunscreen with at least SPF 30 that's labeled as "reef safe." And don't forget to make sure it's suitable for your child's age and skin type. We don't want any baby skin disasters, now do we?

Step 2: Apply before going outside. Slather that sunscreen on your child's skin 15-30 minutes before heading out. It gives the sunscreen a chance to absorb fully into the baby's skin, like a yummy lotion massage.

Step 3: Use enough sunscreen. Be generous, kids! Cover all exposed skin, even the tiny toes and nose. Use a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen for each body part that's exposed to the sun. Think of it like finger painting, but with sunscreen!

Step 4: Reapply frequently. Sunscreen can wear off easily, so make sure to reapply every two hours or after swimming, sweating, or towel-drying. It's like a refreshing lotion break for your skin!

Step 5: Use proper application technique. Rub the sunscreen into the skin until it's fully absorbed. Don't forget to cover those hard-to-reach spots, like behind the ears and the back. Think of it like giving your skin a high-five!

Step 6: Don't forget about other sun protection. Sunscreen is just one way to protect your skin. So, throw on a hat, some shades, and rock that stylish protective clothing. It's like a fashion show, but for sun safety!

There you have it, kids! Follow these steps and you'll be ready to conquer the sun like a true sunscreen pro.

applying sunscreen to children

Applying Sunscreen to Sensitive Areas and Fidgety Children

Applying sunscreen to sensitive areas can be a challenge, especially when dealing with fidgety children. But fear not, we've got some tips to make the process easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved!

First, focus on those sensitive areas like the face, ears, and back of the neck. Use your fingers to apply sunscreen gently and thoroughly, making sure to cover all areas evenly.

If your child is extra fidgety, try distracting them with a game, a song, or even have them help with the application. For a quicker and easier option, consider using a spray sunscreen, but don't forget to still rub it in to ensure even coverage.

To provide extra protection, don't forget to use hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing to cover those sensitive areas and reduce the need for constant sunscreen application.

sunscreen for babies

Sun Safety by the Water: Don't Get Burned by Reflections

When it comes to sun safety by the water, it's not just about slapping on some sunscreen and calling it a day. To avoid getting burned by reflections, there are a few important precautions you should take.

First and foremost, rock that fashionable sun hat and opt for long-sleeved shirts and pants to cover up as much skin as possible. Then, grab that broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 and lather up at least 15-30 minutes before diving into the water. Don't forget to reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you're sweating or swimming like a mermaid.

Seek out the shade and take advantage of that beach umbrella, tree, or any other shaded area you can find. And if you're planning on being out during peak sun hours, between 10 am to 4 pm, make sure to protect your eyes with some polarized sunglasses.

Finally, consider upping your game with a beach tent or canopy for some additional shade and protection. With these measures in place, you can enjoy your time by the water without worrying about the harmful effects of prolonged sun exposure.

Which are the Best Sun Hats for Infants?

When it comes to protecting your little one's delicate skin from the sun, a good sun hat is a must-have accessory. But with so many options out there, it can be tough to know where to start. Here are some key features to look for when selecting the best sun hats for infants:

First and foremost, you'll want to make sure the hat provides ample coverage to protect your baby's face, neck, and ears from harmful UV rays. A wide-brimmed hat is a great option for this.

You may also want to consider a hat with a UPF rating, which measures the amount of UV radiation that can penetrate the fabric. A rating of 50+ is recommended for optimal protection.

Breathable materials like cotton or linen can help keep your little one cool and comfortable while still providing essential sun protection.

Finally, a chin strap can help keep the hat securely in place, even on windy days or during active playtime. With these features in mind, you can confidently select a sun hat that will keep your infant safe and stylish all summer long.

Sunscreen for babies

Some Popular Sun Hat Brands for Infants

When it comes to sun hats for infants, it's important to find a brand that offers a good range of options in terms of style, color, and size. This ensures that you can find a hat that not only fits your baby comfortably but also matches their style.

My favorite brands include:

  • i play. by green sprouts
  • Sunday Afternoons
  • Coolibar

These are all well-known for their quality sun hats for infants and children. They use UPF50+ fabric, which offers excellent sun protection and helps to reduce the amount of UV radiation that can penetrate the fabric and reach your baby's skin.

Additionally, these brands offer features like adjustable chin straps, which help keep the hat securely in place, and wide brims, which provide additional coverage for your baby's face, neck, and ears. These features can help to ensure that your baby stays protected from the sun while they're outside.

Sun hats for kids

It's important to remember that even with a sun hat, you should still apply sunscreen regularly to any exposed areas of your baby's skin. And always remember to supervise your infant when they're wearing a sun hat to ensure that it stays securely in place and doesn't slip over their eyes or become a choking hazard.


We know sun safety is no joke, especially when it comes to our little ones. Reef-safe mineral sunscreens for kids are the ultimate choice for keeping their skin safe and sound from those nasty UV rays, all while doing our part to protect the environment.

Remember to also rock that wide-brimmed hat, throw on some breezy, light clothing, and avoid the midday heat like the plague. With my top 10 list of reef-safe sunscreens and expert tips, you're all set to bask in the sunshine and make amazing memories with your fam. So go on, slather on that sunscreen and get ready for some serious fun in the sun!

all kids need sun protection
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About the Author

Sharon McKenzie

Sharon McKenzie is an Advanced Certified Scuba Diver who loves to explore the ocean depths. She is an advocate for marine and eco conservation, promoting sustainable products. In her free time, Sharon also enjoys paddleboarding and snorkeling. She has two upcoming diving expeditions to Bali and the Great Barrier Reef, which are destinations she has always wanted to explore.

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