Health & Safety

Do Babies Need Sunglasses?

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There’s no doubting that babies in sunglasses look ridiculously cute.

But does a baby really need to wear a pair of sunglasses?

Because your baby’s eyes and skin are more delicate than your own, the answer is a resounding yes.

Wearing a pair of sunglasses will help protect your baby’s eyes and skin from harmful UV rays, which can cause irreversible damage.

But from what age should they start? And how should you choose a pair of shades for your little one to wear on their next beach vacation?

Let’s take a look.

Do Newborns Need Sunglasses?

In theory your newborn should not need to wear sunglasses, because they should never be in direct sun.

This is the advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), who state that babies below the age of six months should not be exposed to the sun.

So ideally, by using a stroller sun shade, umbrella or seeking the shade provided by trees or buildings, you newborn will always be out of the sun.

However, if sun exposure if unavoidable for even short periods then yes, it’s best to put a pair of sunglasses on your newborn to protect their sensitive eyes and skin from the sun.

Why Do Babies Need Sunglasses?

You’re probably well aware that it’s important to protect your eyes and skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

But you might not know that a baby’s eyes and skin are much more delicate than your own.

Children’s eye lenses are much clearer than that of adults, and their skin is approx. 30% thinner.

This means that compared to adults, the skin around your baby’s is at higher risk of getting burnt, and over 1.5 times more ultraviolet light can penetrate their eyes.

So whenever you step outside and begin thinking you need to put on some sunglasses, it’s even more important for your baby to be wearing a pair.

When Should My Baby Start Wearing Sunglasses?

As stated, the advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics is that your child should wear sunglasses as soon as they start becoming exposed to the sun.

This means that from 6 months of age onwards, your baby should be wearing sunglasses whenever they are exposed to the sun.

What Should I Look For In Baby Sunglasses?

You’ll need to look for some different things when buying sunglasses for your child vs buying a pair for yourself.

Below is a checklist that will help you choose the best sunglasses for your baby:

UV Protection

Make sure the glasses provide UVA and UVB protection.

As a minimum you want 95% protection, but of course 100% is better.

Durability

As with anything that a baby uses, a pair of sunglasses will need to withstand a lot of wear and tear.

So avoid anything too delicate.

Look for frames that have some “give” and are bendable, and lenses with scratch resistance.

Plastic lenses are also ideal because they are less likely to shatter.

Polarization

Do babies need polarized sunglasses?

There’s no right or wrong answer, so it’s up to you to decide.

Just bear in mind this feature will make objects appear a little sharper and will help reduce glare.

Lens Color

Many people assume the darker the lens, the more UV protection it provides.

But this simply isn’t the case.

A medium tint is probably fine for most babies, provided the UV protection is high (see above).

Tips To Help Keep Baby Sunglasses On

Let’s face it, even with the best of intentions it can sometimes be impossible to get a baby to do what we want!

Here are a few things to think about to help keep your baby’s sunglasses in place:

  • Comfort – it sounds obvious but the more comfortable the glasses, the higher the chance of your little one keeping them on. So it’s a good idea to try a few different ones in the store and assess your baby’s reaction to each pair.
  • Style & Shape – you might be tempted to buy a pair that matches mom or dad’s glasses, like with other accessories such as shoes. But bear in mind that by choosing glasses with straps or ones that wrap around your baby’s head, they will be more difficult for your child to remove.
  • Your Behavior – we all know children like to copy other adults, especially their parents. So if your child sees you wearing your sunglasses (and not taking them off), it increases the chances of them emulating this good behavior.
  • Timing – if you introduce sunglasses when your baby is young (say around 6-9 months) and on a day when they’re in a good mood, it should make the process more natural compared to starting at an older age.

Lastly, there will be times when your little one simply refuses to wear sunglasses.

At times like these it’s best not to worry too much and ensure they are wearing a wide brim hat, which should still offer a decent amount of protection against the sun.

In Conclusion:

  • Babies need to wear sunglasses even more than adults to protect against harmful UV rays.
  • Ideally your child won’t need sunglasses below 6 months, because up until then they should have no sun exposure at all.
  • When buying sunglasses look for 95%+ UV protection, comfort and durability.
  • By modelling good sunglasses behavior yourself, the chances of your child emulating you will increase.