Sun Safety for Kids: Tips from Safe Sunblock to SPF Clothing

It’s the summer vacation season, and whether you’re traveling or staying at home, sun safety for kids is a must. In addition to buying new sunblock for your family every year, it’s important to ensure you apply it often and in ample quantity. Read on for lists and picks of safe sunblock for kids, plus sun protectant wear for everyone in your family:

1. Choose a Safe Sunblock

With hundreds of sunblock brands to choose from, how to know which are best for the environment and your skin? The EWG (Environmental Working Group) does the work for us, annually testing top sunblock brands to bring consumers environmentally safe picks.

The best sunscreens protect skin from UVB (sunburn) and UVA (skin cancer) rays, score a low hazard rating, and are rated at 30-45 SPF (higher is usually meaningless). If you want to dig deeper, 21 safe sunscreen winners are listed by the Organic Authority, as well as the best kid-friendly sunscreens from Delicious Baby. Our own top three choices for active travel, travel with kids, and all-purpose use all rate highly as safe sunscreens:

All Terrain AquaSport: All Terrain is all-natural, oxybenzone-free, and includes a skin protectant to protect from drying effects of the sun. It comes in a convenient, non-greasy stick ($10.30) for active travelers. EWG safety score: 1 out of 10 (the best possible score).

Badger Baby Sunscreen: Badger has long been a trusted name in natural sunscreens. Badger is thicker than many mainstream sunscreens and provides excellent protection for you little one’s skin. At just under $19, it’s a little pricey, but it goes a long way. EWG safety score: 1 out of 10.

Kiss My FaceKiss my Face products, including their lip balm and sunscreens, are made with organic beeswax or hydresia and no artificial colors. Plus, they’re vegan-friendly and use no animal testing. At $12 for 3 oz, it’s more economical than some other options. EWG safety score: 2 out of 10.

2. Make Your Own Sunscreen

Not sure you trust any brand to make truly beneficial sunscreen, or can’t afford the expense? Make your own sunscreen utilizing any of the many Pinterest recipes below. In general, most standard sunscreen recipes call for the following:

  • coconut oil
  • cocoa butter
  • aloe vera gel
  • zinc oxide powder

 3. Opt for SPF Clothing

Over the years of wrestling kids to wear sunscreen and remembering to wear (and reapply!) it myself, I’ve found the best sun protection is in clothing. Make sure you pack a sun hat and sun protective clothing in your bag along with sunscreen before a day outdoors in summer. The three brands below are my favorite for sun protective clothing for women, kids, and everyone!

1. Athleta: Athleta’s line of sun shirts and cover-ups for women are sporty, so they won’t hamper your active vacation or day out. In other words, these are not decorative cover-ups meant only to make a fashion statement or cover where swimsuits don’t. They are lightweight, playful, and do double-duty as shirts and dresses to eat out in or do some shopping in should you be traveling.

2. Sun protective clothing: I love Sun Protection line of sun and swim wear that blocks 98% of UV rays, because they offer them in sizes from baby to adult for both genders. Gone are the days of baggy, ugly sun protective wear: these items are fitted and fun but still get the job done.

3. Sunday Afternoons: This line of sun-protectant clothing for men, women, and kids boasts wide-brimmed hats, sun shirts, and swim wear. A ground-breaker in sun protection, Sunday Afternoons has been around since the beginning of sun protection awareness.

4. Don’t forget about sunglasses!

Sun protection for your eyes is crucial, and is often overlooked for kids. If you have kids who resist wearing sunglasses, try fitted pairs with elastic straps, soft frames, or foregoing sunglasses in favor of wide-brimmed hats. My kids refused sunglasses until well into their school-aged years, and we relied completely on hat protection to shade their sensitive eyes.

What measures do you take for sun protection? Do you avoid sun altogether, or arm yourself with sunscreens and protective wear?