Kids health

Best sunscreens for kids, as rated by the EWG

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released their 2019 list of the healthiest sunscreens you can feel comfortable slathering on your kids.

If you find yourself standing in the sunscreen aisle scrutinizing ingredients lists and trying to figure out what sun protection is best for your kid, you might want to check out the latest list of best-scoring sunscreens for kids chosen by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Every year, the organization evaluates sunscreens on the market and gives them a hazard score (where 1 is the best score and 10 is the worst), filtering out ingredients that the organization considers harmful, such as formaldehyde-releasing chemicals. The list also shows preference to fragrance-free formulas and those that are water-resistant,  because they “offer greater staying power.” This year, at the end of all their analysis, they were left with a list of 27 sunscreens that they deemed the best sunscreens for kids. These five known brands scored high marks:

1. Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

2. Badger Active Baby Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream, Chamomile & Calendula, SPF 30

3. Coppertone Pure & Simple Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

4. Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

5. Thinkbaby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50+

Some of the other criteria the EWG considers in its hazard scoring is the amount of UVA and UVB protection, and whether it contains oxybenzone and vitamin A. Though Health Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society insist these ingredients are safe, the EWG points to animal studies that show the potential for hormone disruption and tumour development, though no harmful effects have been proven in humans. The organization also favours lotions over sprays (which kids can inhale) and SPFs in the range of 30 to 50, because higher numbers offer a false sense of security.


No matter what sunscreen you choose, it’s important to ensure your child is protected from the sun, because UV exposure is linked to skin cancer later in life. And, as the EWG points out, sunscreen should be a last resort. The organization recommends parents protect kids by covering them well with clothing, planning outdoor activities for early or late in the day (not around noon when the sun is at its strongest), strapping on sunglasses to protect their eyes and finding shady spots to enjoy the great outdoors.

Want more sunscreen recommendations? Here are our top sunscreen picks for 2019.

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