Above all things, safety should be on top of your checklist. Choose a frame that won’t shatter on impact and won’t immediately break when bent out of shape. Soft plastic and rubber frames are great for young, active kids. Rubber frames are naturally slip resistant and both frames are flexible and durable enough to take a beating.
Always attach a sunglass cord (also called retainers) so the sunglasses won’t fall off, especially for young children. Never buy anything made out of glass, especially the lens. Shatterproof polycarbonate lens is the way to go.
100% UV Protection
For the lens, don’t settle for anything less than 100% UVA and UVB radiation protection. Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays is linked to eye damage. The eyes of a child are much more sensitive than that of an adult because the cornea and lens (which act as a natural light filter) are thin and underdeveloped, allowing up to 70% more UV radiation to enter. UV damage can lead to a host of nasty eye problems such as cataracts, photokeratitis (snow blindness), pterygium and skin cancer around the eyes and eyelids.
Lens color has nothing to do with UV protection, and darker lens don’t necessarily mean they’re better than brown lens. Always check the UV rating before you buy to make sure you’re getting the best protection for your child’s eyes.
Styles and Brands
Younger kids don’t really care what brand you get, but do pay attention to color and style. Colorful frames of different shapes are best. For older kids who are more fashion conscious, you can introduce metal frames or styles are scaled down versions of adult shades. There are small versions of Aviators, Cat Eye’s and Wraparounds that look great on kids.
If you go this route, the same rules apply when choosing the frame: it should compliment the shape of your child’s face. Please note that prices are not always indicative of quality, but don’t be a cheapskate and buy a knockoff or an uber cheap pair that offers no protection.
Protection from Glare
If you spend a lot of time on the ski slopes or the beach, you should consider buying a pair of sunglasses with polarized lenses for both you and your child that can help cut back on glare. Light reflected off surfaces such as water, snow and pavement is called glare – a silent, annoying, painful and uncomfortable light wave that can cause retinal sunburn (photokeratitis) that lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
When outdoors, it’s always a good idea to pair sunglasses to a wide brimmed hat or anything with a visor deep enough to cover the eyes. If you can see a shadow under the visor, you’re all good.
Sunglasses for children are not just an accessory, but a necessity all parents need to address early on to avoid any potential eye disorders in the future. Give your child a better future by buying the right eye protection that can help them ward off the nasty effects of UV radiation and glare.