Making Sense of Sunscreen

Our top six picks for a safe summer

Once your baby hits the six-month mark, the milestones start coming fast—you may be starting solids, some kids have a tooth or two, and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s time to start using sunscreen! One study found that more than one in five babies gets sunburned during their first year, and the Skin Cancer Foundation warns that a single blistering sunburn in childhood doubles a person’s lifetime risk of melanoma.

Luckily, commonsense precautions — including keeping babies cool and shaded whenever possible — combined with regular use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen can greatly reduce the risk. So go ahead: plan a summer’s worth of fun with your growing family, and don’t leave home without a tube or two of these mom-and baby-tested sunscreens.

Chemical sunscreen isn’t usually recommended for children (spot them by the active ingredient oxybenzone), so our picks are mineral sunscreens, which use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to create a reflective barrier against UVA and UVB rays. Most feel decadent enough that you’ll want to use them yourself—and you should! It’s a good idea to do a patch test of any sunscreen before doing a full application—smear a dab on baby’s wrist or inner arm and wait 12-24 hours. For more information about sunscreen safety, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide.

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Hallie Kapner

Hallie Kapner

Hallie Kapner has been a writer and public relations professional for nearly 15 years. After spending most of her adult life quietly obsessed with pregnancy and birth, she is studying to become a certified childbirth educator. Hallie and her husband live amid piles of Legos and Cheerios, along with their toddler son, in Brooklyn.

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