Which sunglasses are best for toddlers?
Protecting a child’s eyes from UV rays when in the sun is just as important as protecting their skin. And there are no better ways to do that than outfitting them with a pair of toddler sunglasses. They are made specifically to fit the small faces of children between the ages of one and three, and many boast smart features like nearly unbreakable frames and impact-resistant lenses that ensure they can stand up to the inevitable abuse they will be subjected to.
When it comes to UV protection and style, few pairs match form and function as well as the Babiators Classic Babiators. These cool shades block 100% of UV rays and have a grown-up aesthetic, so you can probably find a similar-looking pair for yourself if you want to match with your toddler. Plus, the company will replace them for up to a year after purchase if you lose or damage them.
What to know before you buy sunglasses for toddlers
Are sunglasses necessary for toddlers?
The lenses in toddlers’ eyes aren’t yet fully developed, which makes them less effective at filtering out harsh light and UV rays than an adult’s. This means the retinas are more susceptible to damage from UV rays, even from just short periods of exposure. Unfortunately, this damage is irreversible and can lead to a variety of vision issues later in life, so it is important to get them in the habit of wearing sunglasses as early as possible.
UV protection vs. polarization
People often assume that if a lens is polarized, it offers total UV protection, but this isn’t the case. In fact, polarization has nothing to do with how much or how little protection a pair of sunglasses offers from UV radiation.
The purpose of polarizing lenses is to block visible light, specifically glare from reflective surfaces. It has no impact on how well sunglasses protect against UV radiation but can make your child’s eyes more comfortable in very bright conditions around water and snow.
It is recommended that adults and children wear sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UV rays. The amount of UV rays a pair of sunglasses blocks is usually specified in the product details. Another option is to look for a pair with the UV400 rating, which offers the highest level of protection. If you do not see a UV400 rating or the company doesn’t list the number of UV rays their sunglasses block, it is best to opt for a different pair.
Features to look for in quality toddler sunglasses
Most sunglasses for toddlers are made with rubber frames. This is because rubber offers several properties that are ideal for a pair of kid’s shades. It is highly durable, able to be bent and twisted without breaking, soft against the skin and has enough friction that it helps to keep them from slipping off. There are also some models made from plastic, though these are often more prone to snapping if put under too much pressure.
When considering the lenses of toddler sunglasses, you should take into account the material, the level of protection they provide and whether or not they are polarized. Polycarbonate is a better lens material than glass for toddler sunglasses because it is affordable and impact- and shatter-resistant. It is also lightweight.
For the utmost protection, it is best to opt for a pair that offers at least 99% UV protection and that is polarized. However, if your toddler won’t be spending a lot of time around the water, in the snow or in other settings where there are a lot of reflective surfaces, it may not be worthwhile to spend the extra money for a polarized pair.
Sunglasses for toddlers come in a wide range of colors and styles, so you can easily find a pair that matches your favorite outfit for them. Whether you prefer plain black shades that match your own or something with cute polka dot or heart designs, there is a pair that fits the bill.
Some sunglasses for toddlers feature a headband instead of the traditional hard temples. This helps them stay in place better, which makes it an ideal feature to look for when choosing a pair for a very active toddler.
How much you can expect to spend on sunglasses for a toddler
Most sunglasses for toddlers cost between $5-$40. Polarized models usually cost at least $10.
Toddler sunglasses FAQ
Do darker lenses mean sunglasses offer more UV protection?
A. No. Darker lenses decrease the amount of visible light that comes through but don’t necessarily provide a higher level of UV protection. There are very light lenses that offer total UV protection and very dark lenses that offer very little UV protection. This is why it is so important to specifically look for a UV protection rating, rather than just assuming that a pair of sunglasses with dark lenses provide the proper protection.
Does my toddler still need a hat if they are wearing sunglasses?
A. It is always best to provide your toddler with as much protection as possible, which includes wearing a hat and baby-safe sunblock. Remember, sunglasses protect the eyes from UV rays coming directly through the lenses but not from the sides.
What are the best toddler sunglasses?
Top sunglasses for toddlers
What you need to know: A stylish pair that look just like adult models, the Babiators are ideal for parents who want to match with their little one.
What you’ll love: They offer 100% UV protection and the company will replace lost or broken pairs for up to one year after purchase.
What you should consider: They tend to slip on toddlers with short nose bridges.
Top sunglasses for toddlers for the money
What you need to know: Affordable and durable, it’s hard to go wrong with these toddler shades.
What you’ll love: They feature a headband to keep them securely in place, even on very active kids, and are made with a durable rubber frame that can stand up to all kinds of bending and twisting.
What you should consider: They are a touch on the small side and may not fit all toddlers.
Where to buy: Sold by Buy Buy Baby
Worth checking out
What you need to know: You’ll find few options cuter than these heart-shaped sunglasses, which will garner compliments everywhere you and your toddler go.
What you’ll love: The fun and whimsical design is hard to beat, and the lenses offer 100% UV protection.
What you should consider: They don’t come with any kind of warranty.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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