Ah, summer in the sun! It’s a childhood staple; but when it comes to UV rays and sunscreen, kids need a little extra protection. With skin more sensitive than yours, children need a specialised sunscreen that protects without causing irritation. Make sure that your summer memories stay in your heart and not on your kids’ skin by using a safe, kid-friendly sunscreen like the NIVEA SUN Kids line of sun protection products.


It takes time for our bodies to build natural defences against UV radiation from the sun, and children haven’t fully developed those protective mechanisms yet. These include natural melanin in the skin and your body’s cell regeneration process:

  • Melanin. This natural pigment is what gives your skin its colour and what provides a small amount of protection from the sun. The lighter your skin, the less melanin you have – and, therefore, the less natural protection. Melanin will develop in children over time, so kids have less natural sun protection than adults and need to use a stronger sunscreen.
  • Cell regeneration. Your body’s skin regeneration process also takes time to develop, so it doesn’t function properly yet in children. Therefore, when kids get sunburned, it can last longer and feel more painful.

Although some sun exposure is important for vitamin D production, too much unprotected sun exposure can lead to sun damage. Experts believe that melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, is directly related to severe sunburns in childhood before the age of 20. Sun damage also increases your child’s risk of wrinkles, spots, and other types of skin cancer, plus eye damage and immune system suppression.

In general, children’s skin is much thinner and more sensitive than that of adults, so they need to wear sunscreen specifically for kids whenever out in the sun – even those with darker skin tones.


The best sun protection for kids starts with a parent’s knowledge. The reality is that UV radiation is always all around us – even in cloudy weather, even in the morning, and even during the colder winter months. Although the sun’s intensity can change with the weather and throughout the day and year, kids should always use sunscreen to protect themselves when outside.

There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. Although they act differently, they both cause sun damage, which can lead to skin cancer.

  • UVA: These rays don’t cause sunburn, as they don’t impact the surface of the skin. Instead, they penetrate deep into the skin, creating free radicals and long-term damage to cells, which can cause premature ageing or skin cancer.
  • UVB: On the other hand, UVB rays only penetrate the top layer of skin, so they’re responsible for tanning and sunburn, which are both indications of damage.

UVB rays fluctuate according to the weather, time of day, and season. Therefore, your child’s risk of sunburn fluctuates as well. For example, the sun’s UVB rays can be up to 150 times stronger at midday than in the early morning. UVA rays, however, don’t act in the same way, so kids are at risk of deeper, long-term skin damage at all times.

More importantly, UV rays are tricky, and they know how to get past certain physical barriers, like parasols and sunshades. Without UV-resistant barriers, about 50% of the damaging rays can still reach the skin, even when shaded. Therefore, building sunscreen into your kid’s daily routine is an important part of sun protection for children!


Once you’re equipped with the proper knowledge about UV radiation, you can better protect your kids from sun damage. There are a few different ways to achieve the best overall sun protection for children, and they include providing adequate shade, wearing protective clothing, checking medications, and, of course, applying sunscreen specifically for kids.


Provide Shade

Because kids have extra sensitive skin, they should avoid direct sunlight as much as possible, especially when the sun rays are strongest (typically between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.). The best way to do this is to avoid the midday sun, stay indoors, and/or keep shaded when outside. Some helpful shading tools include:

  • parasols when at the beach or park
  • awnings, tents, or parasols in the garden
  • sunshades in the car or on the pram or carrier.

Although the beach comes to mind when thinking of sun exposure, most sun damage happens during those typical day-to-day activities, like walking outside, playing in the park, riding a bike, or riding in the car next to a window. Cool, cloudy, or overcast days create “invisible sun”, which can easily sneak up on you and cause damage to the skin.


Dress in Protective Clothing

Another important tactic for kids’ sun protection is to wear certain types of clothing. You don’t necessarily need UV-resistant clothing (although that is available and provides optimal protection). If you’d rather, you can focus on clothes that contain thick, woven fabrics that you can’t see through, then dress your children accordingly.

Some essentials include the following:

  • Baggy shirts and trousers. Loose, light-coloured, and lightweight clothing is best to keep cool in the summer heat. Baggy clothes are optimal sun protection clothing for kids, as they cover more of the body and move with your little one as they play outside. If it’s not too hot, long sleeves and long trousers are best.
  • UV protective clothing. If you prefer, you can find clothes with UV protection, thanks to a special weaving technique. If you choose to go this route, opt for a UV protection factor of 30 or more. This clothing typically features quick-drying fabric, so it’s great for the beach!
  • Shoes. Choose a pair that covers the heel and top of the foot, which are especially vulnerable areas of the body when it comes to sun damage.
  • Sunglasses. Don’t forget about the eyes! Even just one day in the sun can cause damage to the corneas (the outer membrane of the eye); but long-term, unprotected sun exposure to the eyes is what can cause cataracts later in life. To be safest, look for sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Hats. Sun hats provide protection for children’s hair and scalp, but they’re also often equipped with neck flaps or wide brims to shade other parts of your kid’s body, like their face, neck, and ears.
  • Swimsuit. It’s tempting to let your little one romp around in the water shirtless, but it’s better for kids to wear a swimsuit as sun protection. These suits come in several styles, though many cover limbs for additional sun protection while still keeping your kids cool, safe, and mobile with practical swimwear.


Check Medicines

Sun protection for kids goes beyond what you put on the body, as some medications can make the skin more sensitive to UV light. Check with your child’s doctor if your little one is taking any medicine. Antibiotics and acne medication, plus some over-the-counter medicines, can all increase your child sensitivity to the sun. If this is the case for your family, focus on the other precautions like using kids’ sunscreen, playing in the shade, and wearing protective clothing.


Sunscreen for Kids

As mentioned above, UV light can still penetrate some layers of shade, so wearing sunscreen every day is an essential part of your kid’s routine, regardless of the weather or activity. Even when taking precautions like dressing in protective clothing, your little one might still have certain areas exposed to sunlight, such as hands and legs. And because children’s skin hasn’t built up those natural protections, they can only handle a few minutes of UV radiation before damage may occur.

The recommended sunscreen for kids is broad-spectrum (protects against both UVA and UVB light), water-resistant, and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 50. NIVEA’s entire line of SUN Kids sunscreens provides this full protection.


Believe it or not, not all sunscreens are meant for all ages. When it comes to kids’ sunscreen vs. adult sunscreen, there’s actually a difference, and your little one should use what’s designed for their delicate skin. Read on for your guide to kids’ sunscreen and more!


What’s the Best Children’s Sunscreen?

Sunscreens designed specifically for children usually prompt questions like can kids use adult sunscreen, and vice versa? The difference between kids and adult sunscreen comes down to the sensitivity of children’s skin.

When choosing the best and safest sunscreen for children, kids need broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF and ingredients that won’t cause irritation. Ideally, the sunscreen will also be water-resistant, especially when playing in the pool or on the beach. Still, what about those common questions?

  • Can adults use kids’ sunscreen? It certainly won’t hurt you to use your little one’s sun cream, but you don’t need the same type of protection.
  • Can kids use adult sunscreen? Likewise, it won’t hurt your child to use adult sunscreen. However, it’s highly recommended that children use kid-specific sunscreen, as it’s designed for more sensitive skin. Plus, kids’ sunscreen always has a higher SPF, which children need, so you won’t accidentally use a product that doesn’t have proper protection!

NIVEA’s line of SUN Kids products offers full broad-spectrum protection with SPF 50+ and extra water resistance. Additionally, NIVEA SUN Kids products add a few other things to consider when searching for the best sunscreen:

  • Skin sensitivity. Besides being more vulnerable to sun damage due to thinner, sensitive skin, children can also experience reactions to certain ingredients. Look for sunscreen with a gentle formula for children’s skin.
  • Extra water resistance. Kids love to play in the water, so it’s important to pay attention to how long your little ones are enjoying the surf or pool. Regardless of the type of sunscreen, it’s important to reapply at least every two hours.
  • To be extra safe, you can look for children’s sunscreen labelled as “extra water resistant”, meaning the sunscreen retains at least 50 percent of its sun protection after 80 minutes (extra water-resistant) in the water. Normal water-resistant sunscreen retains protection for only 40 minutes in the water; therefore, NIVEA SUN Kids Swim & Play provides three-times longer water resistance and retains protection for two hours (120 minutes) when in the water.
  • Moisturising. Because children have more delicate skin, it tends to dry out quickly when exposed to the sun or playing in the water, as their natural, moisture-retaining skin barrier has yet to develop fully. Therefore, a sunscreen that’s extra moisturising and caring is important. NIVEA SUN Kids protects feature a caring, moisturising formula that keeps skin hydrated for up to 48 hours.
  • Eco-friendly commitment. Your child’s skin is of the utmost importance, but nature is also close to our hearts. Therefore, all NIVEA SUN Kids and Baby products steer clear of ingredients known to harm our oceans and marine life: Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, and liquid microplastics.


Mineral and chemical sunscreens use different types of UV filters to achieve sun protection for children and adults:

  • Mineral sunscreen. Mineral UV filters (typically zinc oxide and titanium oxide) work in a unique way, creating tiny mirrors that reflect and scatter sunlight away from your skin. These are usually classified as physical filters, and they might leave a white film on the skin.
  • Chemical sunscreen. Also known as organic UV filters, the skin absorbs the chemicals used in this type of sunscreen to create a protective layer against UV light, converting it into thermal energy and releasing it from your skin.

NIVEA offers both mineral and chemical sunscreens for kids, but also uses a combination of both types of UV filters in some products.


When Do Kids Need Sunscreen

Kids need sunscreen all day, every day! Whenever your little one is outside, especially when in direct sunlight without shade, they need sunscreen to protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays. Remember that UV light can damage the skin even in the winter and on cloudy days. Try to be extra mindful of applying sunscreen on your children in the following situations:

  • Water and snow. Water and snow reflect the sun’s rays, intensifying their strength. So, when playing in the snow, be sure to use a high SPF (50+) and reapply more often. And for water sports, choose a sunscreen with extra water resistance.
  • Altitude. If you’re spending time outside at a higher elevation, keep in mind that the sun’s rays will be stronger. Using a higher SPF (50+) and reapplying every hour or so will help keep your crew from getting sunburned.
  • Travel. Travel plans can change quickly, so always pack sunscreen for you and your kids when you’re on holiday or travelling by car. NIVEA SUN products are available in convenient on-the-go sizes that fit easily into every bag!


Applying sunscreen to children is simple in theory, but more challenging in practice! Kids like to squirm and aren’t always the best at sitting patiently. However, because sun damage can happen quickly in kids, it’s important to get them thoroughly and evenly covered in sunscreen, reapplying at least every two hours.

Here are some tips to help:

  • Where to apply: Focus on the areas of skin that are exposed to sunlight and not covered with UV-resistant materials. Some frequently missed areas include ears, hands, feet, shoulders, and the neck. Don’t forget to get under straps and hems in case clothing or swimsuits move around while playing.
  • Amount to use: Kids should wear a generous amount of sunscreen – the exact amount depends on the age of your child, as older kids have more skin to cover. Below you’ll find a table to help you understand how many millilitres are necessary for your child’s age, but dermatologists know that measuring can get tricky. There are two hacks that make it all a bit easier:
  • One ounce: When in doubt, use about one ounce to cover any exposed skin. Although you probably won’t need that much for younger children, squeezing sunscreen into a shot glass is much easier than measuring in millilitres.
  • One teaspoon: Or, to make it even easier, try the one-teaspoon rule and use this small measurement for each part of the body. So, one teaspoon each for your child’s face and neck, hands, feet, each arm, each leg, front of the torso, back of the torso, etc., until all exposed areas are covered.

How to apply: Your little one needs your help here! Apply the designated amount of sunscreen where the sunlight hits your child’s skin, both on their body and face. Try to apply as evenly as possible so that you can reapply all at once. Thanks to NIVEA’s immediate protection formula, no waiting is necessary! You child can enjoy fun in the sun immediately after application.

How often to reapply: It’s best to reapply sunscreen often, at least every two hours. Reapply more often if your child has been sweating a lot or swimming, or when near water, snow, or at a higher elevation.


Try Different Types of Sunscreens for Kids to Find the Best Solution

If you have a particularly squirmy kid, try a few different sunscreen types, which have slightly different application tactics. The three most common types of sunscreen for children are cream, spray, and roll-on applications.

  • Cream. This classic type of sunscreen might be your go-to, as you can simply squeeze it into a shot glass or teaspoon for measurement, then apply it like a lotion onto your kid’s face and body. It’s ideal for even application. Try NIVEA’s Kids Protect & Care Sun Lotion SPF 50+ sunscreen.
  • Spray. Kids tend to enjoy sunscreen spray, so it might be easier (and more fun) to apply. NIVEA’s Kids Protect & Care Trigger Spray SPF 50+ sunscreen.
  • Roll-on. For the most impatient or squirmiest of kids, consider a roll-on sunscreen. It typically distracts them from the task, and they can have fun applying it themselves (although, you’ll want to supervise to ensure it’s applied evenly and thoroughly). Try NIVEA's Sun Kids Protect & Care Roll On SPF 50+ sunscreen.


Perhaps you’ve noticed that NIVEA features other sun protection products for specific ages, so what’s the difference between babies’ and kids’ sunscreens?

To make it easier for you, NIVEA arranges baby and kids sun protection in two categories: KIDS Protect & Care and KIDS & BABY Sensitive Protect.

  • Sunscreen for babies. Sensitive Protect is approved by dermatologists & paediatricians and made specifically for babies because it has especially high skin compatibility. Thanks to being free of fragrances and preservatives, it works well for sensitive baby skin that’s prone to eczema and irritation. It also has a high SPF since babies have no natural sun protection.
  • Sunscreen for kids. Protect & Care comes with the same high SPF and is also paediatrically approved, but it’s better suited for a more active age (about 3+ years old). So, regardless of how much your child runs, jumps, and leaps at the beach or pool, they’ll enjoy immediate protection with an extra hydrating and extra water-resistant formula.

Many parents wonder when it’s time to switch from baby to kid sunscreen. You can take this progression in three steps:

1. Babies under 6 months should stay out of the sun completely. Their skin is too sensitive without any natural protection, so they shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight. This means they won’t need sunscreen either, unless any skin must be exposed to the sun temporarily.
2. Kids 6 months to 3 years should wear sunscreen whenever outside. Because their skin is still sensitive and building those natural protections, it’s best to limit direct sunlight as much as possible. But if they’re outside or playing at the beach, use NIVEA SUN’s white line of KIDS & BABY sensitive sunscreen.
3. Active kids or those 3 years and older should always wear sunscreen when outside. If they’re more active or older than 3 years, opt for NIVEA SUN’s blue KIDS Protect & Care line, since it keeps the skin well hydrated while playing or spending lots of time in the water.


Mistakes happen, so your little one might get a sunburn someday. Luckily, most sunburns are first-degree burns, and rarely does the sun cause a second-degree burn. This means that you can treat most sunburns at home. Still, it helps to know why they happen, what to look out for, and how to treat them.


What Causes Sunburn?

What causes sunburn in the first place? When UV light hits your child’s skin, it reacts with melanin, the skin’s natural pigment. Melanin also provides slight natural protection against the sun, so sunburn happens when UV exposure is greater than the amount of natural melanin protection. Remember that it takes time to develop melanin, so kids don’t have much in their younger years, which is why it’s so important to use sunscreen and protect them from direct sunlight.


What are the Signs of Sunburn?

When your kids are outside playing in the sun, it’s best to reapply sunscreen regularly. Afterwards, keep an eye on their skin and look for signs of sunburn, which can include

  • redness and inflammation
  • pain
  • heat sensation
  • chilled sensation.

Typically, signs of sunburn don’t show up until four to six hours after sun exposure and can progressively get worse for up to 12 hours. As the burn heals, you may notice flaky, loose skin. Encourage your child not to peel anything, as the skin underneath is at risk of infection.


How to Treat Sunburn in Kids

Treating your child’s sunburn is important. There are three initial steps to take if your little one suffers from sunburn:

1. Cool down. The first thing you can do is cool down your child’s body, as sunbathing causes us to lose water. Take your little one inside or into the shade and give them plenty of fluids to hydrate their body.
2. Soothe the skin. Next, soothe their burned skin with a cold compress or damp cloth. This tactic will cool and hydrate the skin, while adding an anti-inflammatory effect. Try to keep the burned skin cool for at least one or two hours. After-sun products aren’t safe for kids’ skin, and avoid using anything frozen like ice cubes.
3. Avoid the sun. As the sunburn heals, it’s important to stay out of the sun. It can take several days for the skin to heal, so that means no direct sunlight for up to a week or so.

These three steps should help soothe your child’s sunburn, but if you notice signs of a more severe burn, it’s best to contact their healthcare provider. These signs can include fever, chills, blistering, vomiting, general malaise, irritability, and confusion or lethargy.



No – using coconut oil as sunscreen is very dangerous, as it offers no UV protection! It’s best to use kids sunscreen that’s broad-spectrum and hydrating with a high SPF and formulated specifically for sensitive and vulnerable skin.


Because car windows don’t protect against harmful UV rays, children should wear sunscreen when in the car, even on cloudy days.


Yes, adults can use kid sunscreen, but generally it is best to use adult sun care products that are designed for adult skin.


It won’t hurt kids to use adult sunscreen, but it’s highly recommended to use sun protection that’s formulated specifically for their skin, which is more sensitive and vulnerable to sun damage. Kids need also need a sunscreen with a very high SPF 50+ and extra water resistance.


It’s best to switch from baby to kid sunscreen when your child becomes more active, which is around 3 years old. NIVEA Kids sunscreen, which is made specifically for children, is extra water-resistant while keeping the skin well hydrated as your little one runs around and often spends long time in the water.


Yes – sun protection for children is important all year, including in cooler winter months and on cloudy days. Kids have sensitive skin that’s more vulnerable to damaging UV rays. UVA rays can cause damage in any season, at any time of the day, and during any weather.


Kids’ sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 50 or 50+.


NIVEA Kids & Baby SENSITIVE PROTECT sunscreen is paediatrically & dermatologically proven and doesn’t contain irritants like fragrances and preservatives, meaning it’s formulated for children with sensitive skin or eczema.


When it comes to kids’ sunscreen, the bottom line is simple: Kids need sunscreen anytime they’re exposed to sunlight, even while riding in the car, walking to the park, or when in cloudy weather. UV light is particularly damaging to children’s sensitive skin, which has yet to build up those natural sun defences. When choosing a sunscreen for your children, look for the following:

Broad-spectrum (protects against UVA and UVB rays)

  • High SPF (at least 50 or 50+)
  • Extra water-resistant
  • A moisturising formula that keeps skin hydrated
  • Eco-friendly ingredients (no Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, or liquid microplastics)

Mineral and chemical sunscreens are good options, but just ensure they meet the above criteria to provide the sun protection children need. To be on the safe side, use about one ounce of sunscreen (or one teaspoon per area of the body) and apply thoroughly and evenly.

If your little one is extra squirmy or impatient, use a spray or roll-on sunscreen, like NIVEA’s Kids Protect & Care Trigger Spray SPF 50+ or Roll On SPF 50+. What’s most important is covering all those exposed areas of skin and reapplying at least every two hours. Summer sun memories should stay in your heart and not on your kids’ skin!