WHEN the mercury sky-rockets, whether you’re at home or abroad, it’s crucial to protect your child’s skin against the sun.
The best sunscreens for kids are designed to shield their delicate skin from UVA and UVB rays, while at the same time nourishing and protecting their face and body.
There’s a lot of jargon that comes along with sunscreen, but we’ve taken the stress out of choosing the right product for your family with our selection of the most effective sun protection products available to buy for kids, which our mini testers have all tried themselves.
Whether you need sunscreen for a sunny half-term staycation or a summer holiday getaway, les NHS recommend children are protected from March to October by covering up, spending time in the shade between 11am and 3pm and using sunscreen of at least SPF30. It also recommends that babies under six months stay out of the sun completely.
Kids are notoriously tricky to slather in suncream, making it a hated pre-beach task for parents and kids alike. Our top tip for applying cream formulas is to use an old make-up brush to gently and slowly brush the cream onto your child’s skin, which is a much quicker, more precise and less tantrum-inducing method.
Why is wearing sun cream so important for kids?
“Children’s skin is more delicate than adults’,” said Consultant Dermatologist Dr Derrick Phillips when we put this question to him. “So ensuring that your child wears an SPF daily is recommended, even if it is just on the areas visible to daylight.”
“It is important to put this habit into our children young. By doing this every day with them, it is more likely they will implement this into their routine when they grow up.”
“Our skin is made healthy by certain proteins, such as elastin and collagen,” il a continué, “so exposing your child to sunlight without sunscreen is only going to assist in devastating these essential proteins.”
“These proteins all ensure that your child’s skin is smooth and healthy, so this needs to be protected for as long as possible.”
He recommends that you should reapply sunscreen to kids every two to three hours, especially in hotter temperatures.
We’ve tried and tested 10 of the best sunscreens for babies and kids, so you can get your family sun safe in no time.
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Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturise Lotion SPF50+
- Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturise Suncare Lotion, £4 from Boots – Achetez ici
When it comes to budget-friendly sun protection that gets the job done, this Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturise Suncare Lotion is the one to beat.
With a 50+ factor and a five-star UVA rating, it’s as good as it gets for protecting against the sun’s rays for children. It’s also hypoallergenic and water-resistant, making it a great companion for summer days spent in the garden with the paddling pool.
It has a squeezy bottle design and the consistency of the cream is fairly light, plus it has a pleasant, faint smell, which our mini testers liked. It initially sunk in quickly, although it left a slightly oily residue, but this disappeared after a few minutes.
In terms of look and feel, it’s not the most sophisticated on the market, but for the price, scent and level of sun protection it provides, it’s a total bargain.
Soltan also sent us the Kids Suncare Roll-on, £3.50, to try, which our three testers adored as they could apply it themselves, making the whole process quick and tantrum-free.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Kids Invisible Spray
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Kids Invisible Spray, £16 from Boots – Achetez ici
Avouons-le, applying suncream to kids is a drag for everyone involved, but you can make the process a whole lot less painful with this invisible spray.
The texture is ultra-light – almost like water – and it can be applied super swiftly, leaving more time for fun in the sun.
Unlike other colourless spray sunscreens in our edit, this product has a creamy colour, so you can easily see where it’s applied, which is useful when trying to get good coverage on an excited toddler.
Our testers loved its quick spraying action and shrieked with excitement when it hit their skin. It’s non-perfumed and sinks into skin nicely, leaving a nice moisturised sheen.
Made by French pharmaceutical brand La Roche-Posay, the spray lotion offers a very high level of protection, especially for sensitive and fragile skin types.
Suitable for the face and body, it’s fragrance-free and water, sweat, and sand resistant, making it the ideal sun care option for active older kids and teens.
Green People Organic Children Scent Free Sun Cream
- Green People Organic Children Scent Free Sun Cream, £21.50 from Green People – Achetez ici
Containing 84 per cent organic ingredients, this sun cream by Green People is a crowd-pleaser amongst eco-conscious parents who love its recyclable, plant-based packaging and reef-safe formula.
The cream has a medium consistency and it takes a little more rubbing in before it completely disappears, compared to other, thinner cream formulas. Mais, once it had been absorbed, it had one of the best feelings on the skin – not sticky at all, almost like a body moisturiser.
Scent-free and super gentle on delicate skin, it has UVA and UVB protection with SPF30.
Solbari Dry Touch SPF 50+ Body Sunscreen
- Solbari Dry Touch SPF 50+ Body Sunscreen, £40 from Solbari – Acheter maintenant
The Australians know a thing or two about sun protection and this high-end sunscreen, which is formulated under the sunny skies of Melbourne, offers maximum protection for kids, and it’s also water-resistant for up to four hours.
There’s no denying it’s at the pricier end of the spectrum for children’s sunscreens, but Solbari’s non-greasy formula was undeniably shine-free on our mini testers within a few minutes of applying.
Containing Vitamin E and Aloe vera to soothe skin, it’s also gentle on sensitive skin.
The cream itself is white and has a thin to medium consistency, which soaked in quickly. The bottle, containing just 75ml, was one of the smallest we tested, and we can’t imagine it lasting a whole summer, although it’s a great size to pop in your beach bag.
Cela dit, a little goes a long way and the rapidly-absorbing formula was helpful when slathering our impatient kids.
Altruist Dermatologist SPF 50 Family Sunspray
- Altruist Dermatologist SPF 50 Family Sunspray, £9.50 from Altruist – Acheter maintenant
Designed by a UK dermatologist, the Altruist brand has earned a glowing reputation amongst shoppers for its excellent sun protection products and the Family Sunspray is the latest launch from the company.
Suitable for babies from six months, it has a five-star ultra UVA rating and delivers broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB radiation.
The trigger spray was a delight for our three testers, who all enjoyed pointing and shooting at each other – although our seven-year-old sprayed with ease, our four-year-old twins struggled to grip it strongly enough to get it to work, luckily for everyone.
The spray itself comes out fast and the consistency is very thin, so it sinks into skin quickly and it doesn’t take long to cover a big area, so it’s great for speedy applications as you run out the door.
The feel on skin is non-sticky yet moisturising. Although it’s fragrance-free, we found it had a better smell than other unscented creams.
The lotion is dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic and water-resistant. Le meilleur de tous, buying from Altruist means you’re also giving back as 10p from every product sold is donated to charities supporting people with albinism.
Childs Farm SPF 50+ Roll-On Sun Lotion
- Childs Farm SPF 50+ Roll-On Sun Lotion, £7.99 from Boots – Acheter maintenant
Dry, sensitive or eczema-prone skin will be well looked after with this roll-on by Childs Farm, a company that specifically develops products for children’s delicate skin.
This fragrance-free lotion comes in the form of a roll-on, which our small reviewers not only tolerated when we put it on them; they decided it was fun enough to put on themselves, making marks on their arms and legs. The compact packaging and roll-on design also make it perfect for throwing in your school or beach bag when you’re on the go.
This formula is water-resistant with an SPF rating of 50+, protecting against UVB and UVA rays. It feels light on the skin, making it easy to rub in to maximise skin coverage.
Heliocare 360° Pediatrics Atopic Lotion Spray
- Heliocare 360° Pediatrics Atopic Lotion Spray, £21.97 from Amazon – Acheter maintenant
Another spray sunscreen, this light and hydrating formula can be used on sensitive and eczema-prone skin (also known as atopic skin).
The trigger for the bottle is easy to lock and unlock, meaning no leaks in your beach bag, and the lotion is water-resistant. The formula was slightly creamier than other sprays in our edit and it had a lovely, light tropical scent that filled the room as we sprayed.
Although it’s fragranced, it’s free of declared fragrance allergens and the formula felt moisturising and soothing on our four-year-old’s eczema-prone skin.
The cream soaked in quickly and could hardly be felt after around five minutes. It has an SPF rating of 50+ and a PA++++ rating, which is a UVA rating from Japan meaning ‘extremely High UVA protection.’
The spray bottle also makes it very quick to put on, so say goodbye to lengthy struggles with your wriggly toddler.
NIVEA SUN Kids Coloured Suncream Spray SPF50+
- NIVEA SUN Kids Coloured Suncream Spray SPF50+, £6 from Boots – Acheter maintenant
Developed specifically for children’s skin, this sun spray comes out a vivid blue, so it’s much easier to identify exactly where it’s landed on your child’s skin, avoiding any accidental patches of sunburn.
Once sprayed on our testers’, they enjoyed rubbing in the colourful lotion until it disappeared. The formula itself is very lightweight and soaked in fairly quickly, although skin felt tacky for slightly longer than other sprays.
It had one of the strongest scents of the bunch, although it was pleasant and we all agreed reminded us of holidays.
The brand claims this lotion is ‘extra water-resistant’, and it has an SPF rating of 50+ and a UVA rating of four stars, providing immediate protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Solait Kids Sun Cream Spray SPF50+
- Solait Kids Sun Cream Spray SPF50+, £4.99 from Superdrug – Achetez ici
The chunky trigger-spray bottle of this Solait Kids Sun Cream Spray is enough for children to get excited at the prospect of spraying themselves with cream, which earns it major points from parents.
Our three sun-safe testers enjoyed trying it out and found it easy to spray. The formula comes out green, which our kids loved, although it’s advisable to keep it away from clothes (especially white garments) as one preschool top was stained before we even left the house.
Cela dit, it performed really well in every other respect – it smells lovely, the formula sinks in well without a sticky feel and it offers five-star UVA and UVB protection.
It’s also paediatrician approved and extra water-resistant, so it’s the ideal companion for a trip to the seaside or water park.
Asda Protect SPF 50+ Cooling Clear Sun Mist
- ASDA Protect SPF 50+ Cooling Clear Sun Mist, £3.60 from ASDA – Achetez ici
Another bargainous sun spray, we found the performance of this ASDA Cooling Clear Sun Mist seriously outshined its mega-value price tag.
Boasting the highest available five-star UVA protection and a high SPF of 50, the transparent mist formula soaked into skin as quick as a flash and felt almost non-existent after a few seconds.
Our mini testers screamed with joy as the cold spray hit them – and it does come out pretty chilly – but on a hot day it’s a nice, cooling relief, and it sinks into skin so quickly our testers didn’t mind applying it at all.
We found the mist formula was also great for getting to hard-to-reach places, although it was tricky to apply to faces as the spray comes out so fast and cold. We found it easier to spray into our hands and speedily spread it across our testers’ faces before it disappeared.
A budget-busting beauty that you can pick up on your weekly shop, this ASDA Sun Mist is a summer must-have.
More from sun selects parenting
Now you’ve got your child’s sun protection sorted, are you looking for a grown-up SPF? Then head over to our round-up of the best sun creams.
Enjoyed our edit of the best sunscreens for kids? For more parenting recommendations, head over to our dedicated Sun Selects parenting page.
We’re all about helping you find the best products at the best prices, so be sure to check out more of Sun Selects’ recommendations.