Sun Happens: 11 Picks and Tips for Baby-Safe UV Protection

NOTE: This is an updated version of a previously published blog post.

By: Betsy Goldin Becker

What is your family up to this spring and summer vacation? If your answer is any of the following: a) swimming  b) slurping snowballs c) attending outdoor festivals  d)picnicking at the park  or e) all of the above (lucky you!) – chances are, you and your little ones will be exposed to the sun.  That means good UV protection is a must. Here at ZukaBaby, we seek out products that are healthy and safe for our little ones, ourselves, and for the environment. Here are our latest picks for suncreens, outerwear, play mats and travel gear, to help make the most of your fun in the sun.


It’s important to keep in mind that labels for sun protection products are frequently changing. Before stocking up on SPF’s, UPF’s and sweet little sun hats, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with some basic terminology:

4 Important Sun Protection FAQ’s

1. What’s the difference between an SPF and a UPF rating? Are higher numbers better? SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) are both rating systems that measure the UV protection provided by the product. SPF’s are listed on sunscreens and UPF’s are listed on fabric and clothing. Experts recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and fabric with a UPF of at least 40, which blocks 97% of the sun’s rays.

2. What is a Mineral versus a Chemical Sunscreen? A mineral sunscreen (any that list zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide as the active ingredient) safely sits on top of the skin to deflect harmful rays. Chemical block sunscreens mainly absorb rays and are more likely to be skin irritants. (ZukaBaby only carries mineral sunscreens.)

3. Why are some sunscreens labeled as ‘broad spectrum’? Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays– ultraviolet A (UVA) rays and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Overexposure to either can lead to skin cancer. Broad spectrum means that it safely protects against both types of rays. If it does not list “broad spectrum”, it only protects against UVB rays.

4. How often do I really need to reapply sunscreen when outdoors? In the water? A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above should be reapplied about every 2 hours when outdoors, even on a cloudy day. If a sunscreen is labeled water resistant, it should also list the number of minutes it will be water resistant at its SPF level. That reminds you how often you should reapply, usually after 40 or 80 minutes in the water.

Now that you’re armed with knowledge, let’s explore our favorite products for baby-safe UV protection:

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Sunscreen

THI-00268-1thinkbabyProtect your little  one’s priceless skin with this non-greasy, mineral block sunscreen.

  • Top Rated by EWG with a “1” rating since 2010
  • Free of biologically harmful chemicals. No Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, or UV Chemical absorbers.
  • Highest SPF 50+ (per FDA 2012 Rules – any sunscreens boasting higher are falsely marketing)


ThinkBaby-ThinkSport-For-Kids-Sunscreen-SPF-50-890397002790__32630.1451721956.190.285thinksport - Protect the whole family with this non-greasy, mineral block sunscreen:

  • Top Rated by EWG with a “1” rating since 2010
  • Free of biologically harmful chemicals. No Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, or UV Chemical absorbers.
  • Highest SPF 50+ (per FDA 2012 Rules – any sunscreens boasting higher are falsely marketing)




Stylin’ Swimwear and Playwear


Babiators – Their future’s so bright, they’ve gotta wear shades. These stylish, award-winning sunglasses offer 100% UVA and UVB Protection, with two sizes to fit most babies (6 months – 3 years of age) and kids (3-7 years of age), plus plenty of awesome colors. Baby-proofing bonus: GUARANTEED against loss or breakage for 1 year.


IPBabyBlueSunhatiPlay Sun Hats- Keep harsh rays off of the delicate skin of your little one’s face and head, with these stylish and functional hats. Made of a quick-drying fabric, these are perfect for any type of outdoor fun. Offered in solids and a brim or flap hat option with sizes ranging from 0-18 months.



swim baby sun shirtiPlay Breatheasy Swim Shirt - For comfortable play in the sun or the sea, these lightweight shirts are breathable and dry quickly, even while being worn! Offered in multiple solid colors and sizes ranging from 6 mo – 2T.



iPlay Swim Trunks, Girl Swimsuits, and Swim Diapers (UPF 50+)

iplay ruffle swim diaperSwim Diapers – These patented swim diapers have a waterproof outer layer, extra absorbent inner layer and wick-away lining next to baby’s skin. Available in multiple sizes, colors and either classic or ruffled styles.




35973Ultimate Swim Trunks  – Give your child a “big-kid” look while still offering diaper protection.




35979Ruffle Tank Swim Diaper Three layers of accident protection inside a cute, ruffly suit!




What are your favorite ways to protect your little ones from the sun? Do you have any sunny plans for summer vacation? Tell us on Facebook or share a photo on Instagram.

Betsy Goldin Becker is the owner of ZukaBaby Metairie, mother of two, and lover of the sun, the sea   and all things summer.

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