Baby sunglasses aren't just there to give your baby that Tom Cruise/Risky Business look! Your baby's skin is perfect.... soft and smooth with hardly any blemishes – this is what skin looks like before a lifetime of exposure to the sun! Luckily we are now more aware than ever of the benefits of sun smart clothing and accessories for children. There is a huge range of baby sunglasses, sunscreens, baby boy's clothes, baby girl's clothes and hats to choose from to protect our precious little ones from sun damage for as long as possible while they still enjoy the great outdoors.
Exposing our eyes to ultraviolet rays can make us more susceptible to cataracts and other eye problems later in life – not to mention the risk of burning the delicate skin around the eye. Baby sunglasses are a great way of covering your bub’s eyes and surrounding skin, but not just any sunglasses will do. Cheap sunglasses are fun for playing dress ups, but lenses with no UV protection may actually do more harm than good to your baby’s vision. Look for sunnies with a great UV rating along with sturdy frames and a protective case to help them last. For safety’s sake, avoid adding strings or chains to children’s sunnies as they can easily get tangled, but keep an eye out for baby sunglasses that come with their own elasticized headbands or arms that hook firmly behind ears. Finally, be a great role model by wearing your own sunglasses – babies love to copy grown up fashion!
Experts agree that the best sun protection for very young children is to keep them in the shade as much as possible. But if you love the outdoors and want to take your bub with you, there are many baby-friendly sunscreen products on the market. For the summer sun, an SPF – sun protection factor – of at least 15 is recommended. Products that include the ingredient zinc oxide sit on top of the skin, forming a barrier and requiring fewer reapplications. Be sure to reapply, though, if you’ve been outside for a long period or if you’ve taken your baby for a swim. Pop some sunscreen in your nappy bag along with some baby sunglasses to make sure you’re never caught out when enjoying outdoor play with your bub.
Just like baby sunglasses, baby sun hats can be fun and stylish accessories, as well as offering practical protection. Sun smart baby hats should have good coverage of the face, neck and the top of the head – trucker caps and sun visors only shade the eyes so should be warn with high collared kids shirts. Some baby hats come with cords or chin ties, which can certainly help avoid the hat being lost with the first gust of wind, but may also be a safety risk if caught around the neck. Make sure strings are not too loose and that there are no pieces that can come away in baby’s mouth. Baby sun hats can be bought in washable fabrics, sometimes with their own SPF rating, and in designs to suit every little personality. As children get older, letting them get involved in selecting styles and colours will make them eager to keep hats and sunglasses in place.
Your baby’s skin is precious and delicate, and their vision is still developing. Getting them started early with a range of baby sunglasses, sunscreen and hats will help protect them from sun damage while they enjoy their outdoor play.