Over the past few years more babies and children have been seen wearing sunglasses. But it’s not a fashion trend. Those specialising in children’s eye health recommend that little ones wear sunglasses from the earliest age. We chat to Andrea from Banz Carewear about the importance of sunglasses for kids.
Sunglasses look great on babies and children – so cute! But there are so many more important reasons for them to wear sunnies – here are just five:
Active Kiwi kids are out in the sun more than adults.
A lot of exposure to the sun happens when we are children – and parents are encouraged to get their kids outdoors as much as possible. “Kids should definitely wear sunglasses while they are outside,” says Dr Michael Jones, an Australian paediatric eye specialist. “Putting sunglasses on your kids should be part of the everyday sun protection routine. Kids get exposed to an extraordinary amount of sun in their early days and it really does have a cumulative effect. We’ve got to make sunglasses part of that slip, slop, slap routine.”
Children’s eyes are more sensitive to the sun than adult eyes.
Your kids have ‘new’ eyes. The lens allows in about 70% more of the sun’s radiation than an adult’s eye, with the potential for eye problems such as cataracts and cancers in later life.
Encourage your kids to wear a sunhat, BUT be aware that sunhats don’t protect the eyes from UV radiation reflected upwards from water, sand or concrete (or snow).
A child’s eye will gradually store up the sun’s radiation.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says children’s eyes more easily absorb UV radiation and up to 80% of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV will occur before the age of 18. It makes sense to reduce this as much as possible. Banz sunglasses, with their top specs – 100% U.VA and U.VB-blocking lenses, a top Eye Protection Factor of 10 and which meet the latest Australia/New Zealand Standard for Sunglasses and fashion spectacles AS/NZS 1067.1 2016 for sunglasses – are ideal.
The skin around a baby and child’s eye is very sensitive to U.V radiation.
U.V damage can potentially cause cancers to this delicate skin. Eye experts recommend wearing sunglasses that wrap around the eye area, as this style offers the best defence against damage to this area by closing in the sides of the sunglasses to sunlight.
Bright sun hurts kids’ eyes.
You wear sunglasses when you’re out in the sun to keep your eyes comfy, don’t you? So should your children! We’ve all seen babies rubbing and screwing up their eyes when the sun’s in them. They need sunglasses when they’re out and about!
Things to look for when buying:
However, not any old sunglasses will do. There are several important factors to look for when buying sunglasses for babies and kids. Any pair of sunglasses worn by little ones should offer these features:
- They must adhere to the Australia/New Zealand standard for sunglasses and fashion spectacles, AS/NZS 1067:1 2016. This code has been recently updated and enacted, as the previous standard was from 2003. If the label on the sunglasses you’re looking at notes the 2003 standard or worse, no standard at all, do not buy them. Also look for the eye protection factor (EPF) – this should be the full rating of 10, and only buy if the sunglasses offer 100% protection from U.V.A and U.V.B. (The sun also emits U.V.C rays, but these are filtered out by our atmosphere.)
- The shape of the sunglasses should fit closely to the child’s face. Traditional designs with ‘arms’ actually let a great deal of sunlight in at the sides. As babies and young children have much more delicate sight, choosing a wraparound frame is best. The Banz Carewear advantage of having the frame on an adjustable headband, which keeps the sunglasses close to the face, is clear. Please don’t go for cutesie frame shapes – you’ll defeat the purpose of wearing sunglasses.
- The material of the frame and lenses should be shatterproof and scratch-resistant. Children are notoriously hard on sunglasses and putting standard sunglasses materials near their eyes is dangerous.
- Don’t buy children’s sunglasses from discount stores or shops that don’t specialise in eye protection. Your child’s eyes are best protected with sunglasses from a proven brand and retailer.
Andrea and her husband Tony started Banz Carewear New Zealand after struggling to find sunglasses for her young son Jack. She first spotted a pair of Banz in Australia and was sold on them after Jack took to them so readily, and looked so cute!