The weather is warming up, which means it’s the perfect time to take stock of baby’s sunny weather wardrobe. The cherry on top of an absolutely adorable breezy spring or summer ensemble? Baby sunglasses. These adorable accessories not only complete every outdoor-ready ensemble, they provide invaluable sun protection that those precious infant peepers shouldn’t be without (especially as eye damage is cumulative and can start as soon as baby leaves the womb). We’ve seen plenty of sassy shades show up on shelves and online, but it’s worth noting that not every pair offers sufficient, pediatrician-recommended UVR safeguards.
Before you impulse buy those so-cute sunnies you’ve seen flooding your social feeds (and there is no judgment there!), be sure you read up on all the safety features first. If the percentage of protection against both UVA and UVB rays isn’t at least 99 percent, then you’ll want to keep shopping. And while the protection factor is most important when it comes to picking out proper infant sunglasses for your tiny one, it isn’t the only thing to keep your sights on: Comfort, fit, durability and fashion are all worthy specs in this buying game!
BEST DURABLE BABY SUNGLASSES
Do Babies Need Sunglasses?
In short, yes, they absolutely do. Everything about a baby grows and matures in time; they’re incredibly sensitive in infancy, through toddlerhood and into their youth (that goes for any child under the age of 10). While they may squint and close their eyes to intentionally block out rays, because their eyelids are so thin and delicate, not only are they at risk for sunburns, they also can’t filter out the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays as effectively as older teens and adults.
Plus, according to Alexis Phillips-Walker, a pediatrician in Atascocita, Texas, children are more at risk for retinal damage from UV rays, because their pupils are larger and the lens inside the eye is clearer, allowing more absorption of UV radiation into the eye. Even just one day of sun without protection can lead to irreversible UV damage, cautions Phillips-Walker.
When Can Babies Wear Sunglasses?
Ideally, babies under 6 months should be kept out of the sun as much as possible. The recommendation goes hand-in-hand with pediatricians’ advice not to use sunscreen on newborns and infants. Until they reach the age of 6 months, babies should be protected from the sun with umbrellas, canopies, breathable blankets and sun hats that can adequately shade their eyes and the rest of their face. They can also wear UV-resistant clothing and swimsuits as an added veil of protection, but the more time they can spend out of direct sunlight, the better.
Once babies hit that half-year mark, though, the American Academy of Ophthalmology green-lights the use of sunglasses in tandem with brimmed hats and dermatologist-approved sunblocks, as long as they meet standard safety levels for UV and impact protection. Most high-quality sunglasses will meet those precautionary benchmarks, but if you’re not shopping from a professional eyewear destination or purchasing from an ophthalmologist, you’ll need to weed through any cheaply made novelty pairs, which are rarely equipped with the requisite 99 or 100 percent UV protection.
What to Look for When Buying Baby Sunglasses
When searching for the best baby sunglasses, you’ll want to look for baby sunglasses with a UV400 label, which guarantees 99 to 100 percent protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Once the UV protection percentages check out, you can move onto other criteria, such as comfort and full coverage. “If you can’t afford to do full custom-fit glasses, you can still find a variety of wraparound styles that offer full sun protection for your baby,” reassures Phillips-Walker. “The glasses should fit just beyond the eye, without being uncomfortable, for full protection—and you can also help amplify the protection by having your child wear a hat.”
According to Phillips-Walker, here are a few other tidbits to bear in mind as your sunglasses hunt heats up:
Comfort and Fit
“Sunglasses with a strap around the head or silicone sleeves that cover the arm of the sunglasses enable a better fit,” she notes. “Active children should have sunglasses made of impact-resistant polycarbonate with scratch-proof lenses, and frames should be made of a material that is bendable but not breakable.” Babies are fragile, so of course any gear they’re wearing should be slender, flexible and soft. You can find sunglasses made from a number of materials, but rubber and lightweight plastic are priority for the comfort they provide.
Design and Durability
If you ask any pediatrician or pediatric ophthalmologist, they’ll likely tell you that impact-resistant frames are king, and that the best lenses are made of polycarbonate—a material much lighter than glass or plastic, which makes wearing them more comfortable. “Frames that fit properly not only protect against the sun’s UV rays, but also keep dust and other debris from getting into the child’s eyes,” notes Phillips-Walker. “Spring hinges also help keep the fit of the frame snug, reducing the chance of the glasses falling off. And a static or removeable elastic band can keep the frames securely attached to the head, while simultaneously preventing damage or loss.” Straps or stretchy bands can be a parent’s best friend—just be sure to keep an eye out for baby at all times, as anything hanging around their necks can easily become a choking hazard.
Polarized vs. Non-Polarized
Just like your own sunglasses, baby sunglasses are available in polarized or nonpolarized pairs. All it means is that the lenses are treated with a periphery chemical that can better filter out light. Phillips-Walker says that it has very little to do with sun protection. “If you have a child with extra sensitive eyes, a polarized set of lenses can allow them to see better in highly reflective environments, like being out in the snow, floating in a pool or riding on a boat.” Otherwise, opting for the polarized set of shades usually just equates to a larger price tag.
If you’re searching for a pair of sunglasses for baby that are as snazzy as they are safe, you’ll be over the moon by the selection of protective baby shades available at a handful of our favorite shops. Whether you’re looking for a classic wraparound style or an adorable pair of baby heart shaped glasses, there are so many great options.
The Best Baby Sunglasses
The best baby sunglasses are stylish, sturdy and, most importantly, safe. Look for sunglasses that block harmful UVA and UVB sun rays, fit snugly and cover the entire eye area. Other hints of quality include shatter-resistant lenses and flexible frames that’ll withstand wear and tear (because you know those glasses will run the gauntlet with your little guy or girl!). Ready to start shopping? Here you’ll find infant sunglasses that offer all the sun protection your little one needs, and a bunch more perks you’ll love as parents.
Best Durable Baby Sunglasses
Roshambo Eyewear sunglasses for babies can do it all—while also contributing to a good cause. They’re ultra lightweight (they can float!), shatter-resistant, UV-protective, flexible, chewable (they’re made from a safe, teether-like material) and compatible with prescription lenses. Plus, a portion of Roshambo’s sales go toward autism support. Pick up a pair of the matching adult shades for a too-cute mommy-and-me matchup.
Frames are baby/toddler-safe BPA-, phthalate-, lead- and latex-free
Brand will send a replacement free of charge if you lose or even scratch a lens
Naturally buoyant, so they’re perfect for the pool and beach
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