How to Put Sunscreen on a Protesting Preschooler

hatsThese days, I'm all about sun hats and suncreen and standing in the shade...for me and my precious girls.

But getting sunscreen on a squirmy, protesting preschooler (not pictured; that's me and my easygoing baby over there to the right) isn't always easy.

Here's how I manage it...

Pure&FreeBabySunblkStickSPF60_185x225I use a sunscreen stick, like Neutrogena's Pure & Free Baby Sunblock Stick SPF 60+ with PureScreen ($8.99). This little waterproof, sweatproof stick smoothes on like chapstick - and it's especially ideal for your face and ears.


babysafe sunscreen towelettes md momsI use sunscreen wipes, like MD MOMS baby silk babysafe sunscreen towelettes ($26 for 15-pack, see below for your chance to win). Each SPF 30+ wipe has enough sunscreen to "cover baby from head-to-toe." I use these wipes on my 2-year-old...and on me. They are super convenient. And they come in "singles" too, if you want to take them with you on-the-go.


I say, "Would you like to put sunscreen on and go outside or would you like to play inside for awhile?" [Can you tell I've been reading: Parenting With Love & Logic? Review coming soon...]

Both of the above-mentioned sunscreen products are easier to apply and less messy than the typical bottled variety. They both apply white and may require a little bit of rubbing in. They both could easily be tossed in your purse or backpack - excellent for families on-the-go.

Related Side Note: I do worry sometimes about the chemicals in sunscreen, but I don't know enough about the "science of sunscreen" to make a good argument about whether it's better to wear it or to risk getting burned (If you do, please share!). Because I want to use the gentlest and least "severe" options on the market, I tend to wear baby sunscreen myself. I'm hoping that the labels ("extra gentle" - "naturally-sourced sunscreen ingredients" - "safe for baby") actually mean something.

YOUR TURN: What sunscreen do you wear? What brand is your favorite?

WIN IT! One winner will receive a pack of MD Moms baby silk babysafe sunscreen towelettes ($26). To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Tuesday, July 14 at midnight (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).

*UPDATE* The winner is #17 Naomi. Congratulations!

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76 comments on “How to Put Sunscreen on a Protesting Preschooler”

  1. I like the coppertone water babies 70 spf and banana boat spray. We usually apply something all over our faces daily, but if we're going swimming or doing something else outside for longer than 20 minutes, we put it all over.

  2. These towelettes wold be great for my squirmy baby!!Right now we use water babies and yes we share, haha!

  3. Honestly, I don't have a fave brand. I usually get something spf 30 or greater. I buy what is on sale.

  4. I use many different brands, but this is a great idea! I have never tried sunscreen wipes. It would make it so much easier on my squirmy kids! Thank you for the chance to win.

  5. we use Coppertone Kids Sunscreen Lotion it works preety well and i like the smell.pretty much the only brand i have ever used is coppertone.

  6. The whole family uses Blue Lizard Australian sunscreen for babies [SPF 30]. It's just easier than buying multiple types. =)

  7. Right now we are using some strange organic sunscreen that I won from a blog--you have to knead it before you apply it and it smells kinda weird even though it is supposed to be fragrance free. But, hey, it keeps my daughter and me from getting sunburned!

  8. I was having the girls use an organic sunscreen, but it was getting way too expensive. So, now we are using the Huggies Little Swimmers spray on sunscreen. I need a stick for faces though! That would be great. I use a generic spray on one. Can you tell I love to spray? It goes on smoothly and it doesn't need to be rubbed in!

  9. We've tried various kid sunscreens, both the lotions and the sprays and I've always been fairly content with them. However, I discovered the Neutrogena Stick that you talked about and I like it too! Definitely much easier to get the face and ears and I like it a lot for putting along the part in my daughter's hair so her scalp doesn't burn!

  10. We use Target's own brand sunscreen - we got a bunch of it in Arizona in SPF 50 because hubby is from England and burns very easily, and we're still trying to use it up nearly a year later!

  11. We are using a Coppertone cream right now, but have used other brands of sunscreen in the past. Would love to try these.

  12. I just love the spray sunscreen that you can buy these days. I bet a sunscreen cloth would be nice too. macd82 at gmail dot com

  13. I use Neutrogena myself, but I don't mind what brand it is as long as it is high in SPF. I have very fragile fair skin and I hate getting burnt! Those wipes that you mentioned above sound right up my alley, I may need to check those out.

  14. I don't have a favorite brand. Right now I'm using Coppertone for me and Banana Boat for my daughter.

  15. we love aveeno, but its kinda pricey, so we usually got with banana boat - we do a 55 spf

    autumn398 @

  16. I am excited to use sunscreen, actually, and go outside a bit. My kids' pediatrician said no sunscreen until 4 months. I love the idea of wipes. I bought some spray in anticipation of days of use, but I think wipes may do the job better.

  17. We use the Coppertone spray on sunscreen just for the convenience factor. It is really quick to spray it on my three girls. I have never heard of sunscreen wipes and would love to try them since they sound convenient and probably don't make the huge mess that the spray makes.

  18. I know what you mean about sunscreen!! My dd doesnt mind, but DS- he'll put on the stick on his own face and I've tried the spray and I love it! I also have him wear a suncreen shirt for the water to eliminate the sunscreen issue on his back and shoulders!

  19. DH & I use whatever we have lying around the house and a 50+ stick on our tattoos & DS (I forget the brand.) They all rank horribly on EWG, but the alternative is just so expensive and here in TX, we use a bunch!Thanks! thebubbledies(at)gmail(dot)com

  20. I have not used sunscreen I am sad to say but would love this for my grandson when i keep him and we go outside,he is fair skinned.

  21. i never used to use sunscreen and now that im an adult i use the neutrogena 95 spf for face and banana boat spf 70 for body as i am concerned about age spots and premature aging [email protected]

  22. I am wearing Neutrogena SPF 70+ and I love that they make it in a can for spraying on too. It's always so frustrating when I've put on makeup and forgot to put on sunscreen!

  23. I have been using California baby on my dermatologists recommendation. My babe has super sensitive skin but she tends to rub it and get it in her eyes. I think the towlette's would make it much easier to apply!

  24. We use California Baby Sunscreen and Sunscreen Stick. The wipes sounds like a great idea. I'd love to try them! Hope you and your girls are having a great summer.

  25. I love Neutrogena’s Pure & Free Baby sunblock. It's thick and covers so well. It usually takes a few baths to actually get it all out of my daughter's hair! My rule for sunblock is it must go on before we even leave the house so that once we get to the pool, park, or beach, no fights about applying sunblock start.

  26. For the beach I insisted on lotion type sunscreen applied before dressing head to toe for the girls. I've basically tried all the varieties in stores that don't have oxybenzone in the ingredients list. For quick trips to the pool, especially when I'm by myself and they are anxious to get out there, I'm guilty of using the aerosol sprays. They just go on so much quicker and easier... still looking for one of those without oxybenzone.

  27. I use whatever is on sale and has an SPF of 15 or better. But...I always wear sunscreen. In FL the sun is here all year!

  28. I use bullfrog-and a LOT of it. I have a sun allergy, so I really have to slather it on. I've never thought of towelettes-great idea. I put banana boat for kids on my daughter...and sometimes CA baby. Oh, and we've tried kinesys before & I really like the spray kind-easy! But towelettes really sound easy-thanks!

  29. i had no idea they made sunscreen wipes!!! i'm going to have to keep my eyes open for them. right now i'm trying to finish up my bottle of kids coppertone cream stuff just so i'm not being wasteful but i tell ya those spray ones are looking pretty enticing! does sunscreen go bad? (i figure if i can justify getting rid of the cream stuff i'll buy some new easier to apply sunscreen)

  30. I use Bananna Boat the highest SPF you can get! It works! My kids are really bad about wearing hats so I also have a sunscreen that you spray on the scalp!

  31. I've heard lots of good things about MD MOMS, but it's a little out of my price range. We use Banana Boat baby sunblock in the spray bottle. That's been easier for me to use on a toddler (and often myself) than the lotion type that you have to spend so much time rubbing in.

  32. I use whatever. Avery uses Target brand Baby Sunscreen and Since It stays in my Purse I usually just put that on as well. But I like Coppertone sport!

  33. EWG's cosmetic database ( is my go-to site when I need to make a decision about what personal care products to purchase for my family. They have an extensive section on sunscreens (
    ) that cuts through the marketing hype used on the sunscreen bottles and exposes the ones that don't work versus the ones that do. I also enjoy reading the ladies behind who respect EWG's findings but scrutinize products a bit more based on ingredient lists, as well as test them out on themselves and their children. ( We're a California Baby sunscreen family, but I'm curious to also try TruKid's sunscreens based on's review.

  34. I usually use the Coppertone aerosol, which I am sure is totally horrible for the environment but it goes on so quickly... I need to try the wipes or stick for Jasper's face- I usually spritz the stuff onto my hands and wipe his face down but he's so squirmy.

  35. My son is actually really good about putting sunscreen on. He won't wear hats, but when I bring the bottle of sunscreen out he starts naming the body parts where he wants me to put it. I like the Neutragena Pure and Free baby kind. I did try the stick form when we were on vacation because I thought it would be more convenient, but he didn't like it. He preferred the regular bottled kind. I've heard of these MD wipes and have been wanting to try them out.

  36. I'm pretty concerned with chemicals in sunscreen. See a past post I did on the subject, if you'd like, and what the catalyst was for looking deeper into the subject:

    We pretty much stick to California Baby for the whole family. We tend to do sunny activities in the morning or late afternoon, wear hats, and stay covered as much as possible. So when we need to use the sunscreen, which *is* pricey, it stretches well. I find it takes considerably less California Baby sunscreen to cover our skin than the typical Banana Boat variety.

  37. I love the new Neutragena oil free - it does not sting my 3 boys eyes as badly as the water babies...thank you!

  38. My baby and I might just be the fairest people you have ever met. I gave hima haircut the other day (his first!) and put the hair in an envelope for his babybook, you literally could not see them in there, as they matched the paper! :) I use the Neutragena Pure & Free for the same chemical free reasons you listed above (on all 3 of us, daily). I love California Baby, but that stuff is very pricey! The wipes look like they might be a good iem for the baby bag though!

  39. I use water babies spray because it is so easy to put on my kids but I've been eyeing the towelettes for a long time. So easy and convenient, I would love to try them out!

  40. We usually use good ol' Banana Boat lotion. But my 4 yr. old always somehow manages to smear it in his hyper-sensitive eyes, and then comes a cry-fest, which gets even more lotion in his poor we could definitely use a different solution!

  41. We use an oil-free lotion for the face and ears, and aerosol for the rest of the body. It's quick for the kids and they like it, and it keeps us from getting our hands all greasy and taking ten minutes to apply for a short trip outside.

  42. We have good friends who teach Love and Logic. It sounds so interesting... I look forward to your review!!!
    We just got some all natural sunscreen at Sunflower Market... haven't tried it on Bambino yet. He just turned 6 months, so we are okayed to start using it. I have used the stick before (on kids I have babysat) and also the spray. I like both. The stick is particularly great for the face.

  43. I use L'Ombrelle myself as it was recommended by my dermatologist years ago and I've never changed. For the kids (or my 3 yr. old as my baby's still too young), I've recently switched to Coppertone babies continuous spray - so easy to use once you figure out the sprayer technique! The towelettes would be convenient too, though, wouldn't they?

  44. I've always wanted to try the sunscreen wipes. We're a sunscreen lotion family. But recently, I went to aerosol and it's great also. I'd love to find another sunscreen type.

  45. We've been using Head Hunter for a while but now with our little one he's using Blue Lizard. It's so hard to find one that is "safe" and effective! We are getting to the point where the lotion sunscreen is getting difficult to apply so the towelettes sounds like something we can try too.

  46. I used banana boat all my life but recently met my sister in law who uses the grease free NEUTROGENA one. i loved it. i also love some sprays. they seem so convenient to hassle of getting it in the palm of ur hands only having to wash them again.

    i am so much a believer in sun-screen that come summer and my hubby strats calling me the greasy girl. well..not anymore after i found neutrogena :)

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