Avoid sunscreen sprays for infants, toddlers, and young children. While sunscreen sprays are appealing for how quickly and easily they can be applied, they are not ideal for babies and children.
While sprays can cover a large area quickly, it’s often difficult to know how well the skin has been protected, leaving spots of skin open and at risk for sunburn. Also, sprays are easily inhaled into the lungs of children.
In addition to the sunscreen, there are added chemicals that make it easy to spray. We don’t know what effects those ingredients could have when inhaled. Instead, choose lotions or sticks, as you can easily see where the product has been applied. Sticks are often popular with older children as they can use them independently while you work to cover additional areas of exposed skin.
Remember to choose sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum protection” and look for “zinc oxide” or “titanium dioxide” as the active ingredients as these sunscreens reflect UVA/UVB rays and are not absorbed into the skin.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, March 2020