Consumer Reports: Kids' formula sunscreen unnecessary

Lotion recommended over spray for children


SAN ANTONIO - When children go outside the play, they need to be protected with sunscreen. 

However, you don't need to buy a separate formula for babies and children, according to Consumer Reports.

"There's no safer ingredient just for kids," said Consumer Reports' Patricia Calvo. "Manufacturers use the same active ingredients in kids' sunscreens as they do in adult sunscreens."

For example, comparing Coppertone Ultra Guard and Coppertone Water Babies side by side shows the ingredients are the same.

Coppertone's bottle claims it's the number one pediatrician-recommended brand.  The company said it surveys pediatricians to find out which brand they recommend.

"You might think that pediatrician-tested or pediatrician-recommended mans that the sunscreen is safer, but those terms aren't regulated,"  Calvo said. "The FDA does not hold kids' sunscreen to a higher safety standard than adult sunscreen."

Spray-on sunscreens are popular choice. 

But, Consumer Reports advises parents not to spray their kids

"Kids are likely to squirm around. And that means that they risk breathing in the sunscreen. That can be a lung irritant," Calvo said. "And, some sprays contain titanium dioxide, and if you breathe in those sunscreens it could be a potential cancer risk."

Sprays can also be flammable if they haven't dried and the child goes near an open flame like a candle, grill or cigarette.

Consumer Reports says a lotion is a better choice for children.

Walmart's Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50 was named a  Consumer Reports' best buy.

Their tests showed Coppertone's Water Babies SPF 50 is very effective against UVA and UVB rays, but it costs twice as much per ounce as the Equate.


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