Sunscreen is a must for kids, but it's not always easy getting little ones covered in SPF. An expert solves three common sunscreen problems parents encounter.

Mother And Son Playing At The Beach
Credit: Priscilla Gragg

Being the CEO of your kids’ sun care is hardly a beachy gig. But these tips from a dermatologist may make the endless "squirt-rub-and-repeat" cycle easier, so you can spend less time lathering and more time relaxing.

1. "My toddler squirms so much that I just can’t get the stuff on!"

Solution: Remember: “The more you cover her up with clothing, the less sunscreen she’ll need,” says Karyn Grossman, M.D., a dermatologist with practices in Los Angeles and New York City. “Protective gear, like long-sleeved rash guards, is a really easy way to go.” For the remaining exposed skin, use whatever means necessary to get the job done. Some parent-tested tactics: Hand over a phone cued up with an enthralling app, squirt on the sunscreen in silly shapes, or offer an incentive like a sticker upon completion.

2. "Sunscreen irritates my son's eyes."

Solution: Around that ultra-sensitive area, use a water-resistant stick. "The water resistance will keep it from dissolving when it comes in contact with the moisture of his eyes," says Dr. Grossman.

3. "My kid is covered in sand!"

Solution: Pack a small bottle of baby powder in your beach bag—it works like magic to remove stubborn sand from skin. If you have a baby or a toddler, consider bringing an inflatable pool with you to keep under your umbrella. Fill it with water so you can rinse off your sandy child, towel her dry, and then apply a generous new layer of spray-formula sunscreen to her body.

Parents Magazine