Our Top Sun-Safety Picks
- Sun Signals UV Sensors ($6) stickers change color when it's time to apply more sunscreen -- so your kids won't put up a fight.
- Body Glove's Rashguard ($25-27) lets kids avoid burns too -- just like surfers do.
- Lands' End Kids' Swimsuits are all now made with UPF 40 fabric.
- Sun Smarties Infant Cabana ($50) is SPF 50 and pops up and folds down in less than 10 seconds. [Update: This item is currently unavailable as of 2012]
- Baby Blanket Sun Protectors ($10) sunglasses have an adjustable elastic strap and 100 percent UV-protective lenses.
- L.L.Bean's Toddler Sun Protector Hat ($12.50) is made of lightweight UPF 40 fabric and prevents red necks. [Update: This item is currently unavailable as of 2012]
- Coolibar's Two-Piece Swim Set ($49) is made from a special UPF 50 fabric containing titanium dioxide.
- Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion SPF 45 ($14) is gentle, broad spectrum, and fragrance-free.
- No-Ad Disney Sun Pals Sunblock with SPF 30 or 45 ($10) has Ariel, Winnie the Pooh, or Nemo on the bottle.
- Hawaiian Tropic Baby Faces & Tender Places SPF 50+ Stick ($7) is great for the face and ears.
- Blue Lizard Australian Sport Suncream SPF 30+ ($12) contains several broad-spectrum ingredients, and the bottle turns blue in the sun.
- Coppertone Kids Continuous Spray SPF 50 ($10) uses air-spray technology so you can quickly cover a large area.
If you're like 58 percent of the Parents readers we polled, evaluating sunscreen labels can seem like reading a chemistry textbook. Here are the most important things you need to know when you shop.
- Buy at least SPF 30. Many experts say that SPF 15 is plenty, but going higher gives you a crucial margin of error. "If you don't apply enough -- which most people don't -- then an SPF 15 will only be an SPF 6 or 7," says Dr. Boiko. "If you don't use enough of an SPF 30, it may be equivalent to an SPF 15."
- Choose one that says "broad spectrum," "multispectrum," or "UVA/UVB protection." This means it protects against both UVB and UVA rays (although not necessarily equally). Look on the ingredient list for avobenzone (aka Parsol 1789), titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or oxybenzone. All of these ingredients shield against both types of rays.