Getting kids to wear proper sun protection year-round is a big deal here. And really – it should be a big deal everywhere. Kids need to be protected from the sun, plain and simple. Their skin and eyes are just as (if not more) sensitive than adults. In fact, until they are around 10 years old, children are at increased risk for permanent eye damage from sunlight. While the harmful effects of UV rays are three times greater in the summer than in the winter, there is still a lot of damage that can be done (to both skin AND eyes) on the cold, cloudy days. The most alarming fact? Eye damage is permanent and cumulative. What kids’ eyes experience now effects them for life.
Since we happen to be very strong advocates for getting kids outside, we also take outdoor protection seriously too. While I admit that our kids wear helmets better (every time, no excuses) than they wear sunglasses/sunhats/sunscreen, the value should be the same for both. Both protect our children from potentially life-threatening circumstances. We’re working on it as a family here.
Sunglasses are not Accessories
Getting quality sunglasses for your kids isn’t just so they look cute (even though they totally do). It’s important they actually block UV-A and UV-B rays, fit comfortably, protect their peripheral vision also, and stay on. There are a TON of cutsy kids’ sunglasses out there that really do nothing to protect their eyes.
Since we all know that kids are notorious for not keeping things like hats and sunglasses ON, it’s important to be sure the glasses are comfortable and the habits start young, are enforced and are led by the example of the adults they love.
Keeping them ON Little Faces
I know that the struggle to get kids to wear hats and sunglasses is sometimes exhausting at best. I don’t have any magic answers, but the following tips may help:
- Be sure they are light and comfortable AND fit the child well (not too big, too small)
- Set the precedence early – sunglasses and hat every time
- Lead by example. Wear yours every time.
- Use straps. The Real Kids Shades Explorer shades come with them. Croakies or something similar work well for the older kids.
- Distract. Put them on and then get them interested in something else.
- Consistency, consistency, consistency (THE hardest part!)
Real Kids Shades
Over the last few years (of actively looking), I have found one other pair of sunglasses (besides these) I would recommend to parents. However, when we stumbled upon Real Kids Shades at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake this summer, I was positively giddy with excitement. Not only do they stand behind the fact that their glasses protect little eyes, they are also unbreakable AND affordable. Parents don’t shell out big bucks for their kids’ sunglasses because the risk of breakage or loss is real. But, spending less than $15 is doable for most families. They’re available for kids aged 0-12 years.
Real Kids Shades sent Flex-Fit sunglasses for all three of our kids. Their claim is that these shades are completely unbreakable. We have put them through the wringer. Twisting them and bending them and throwing them and using them. They’re holding up beautifully. They keep their eyes protected, stay on while biking and hiking and jumping and playing, fold up for easy storage and yes, they DO look cute.
- On J (age 5): Bolt – Kid 4+: Great glasses for him. They wrap around his eyes to protect his peripheral vision, stay on his head with no issues at all, are light and comfortable.
- On P (age 3): Explorer – Kid 4+: These are actually a little bit big on P – he is more petite in statue so could easily be wearing the size 2+. However, despite that, I still think they protect his eyes well enough that we didn’t need to exchange out the size. They come with a strap which we use about half the time. The only reason it comes off is because often the glasses go on after the helmet, etc. is on and the strap makes it impossible to fit over a helmet. However, the strap really does help immensely. They are also very light and bendable, which means they not only don’t get broken, they also fit on his face well.
- On L (age 8 months): Explorer – Kid 0+: We are determined to start from a young age to be sure she is used to wearing her sunglasses all the time. So far, we have been really successful actually (knock on wood). One other aspect of them that is crucial for non-verbal babies is that the lenses are not opaque.
Check out the Real Kids Shades website for retailers. Or buy them on their site and get free shipping (with orders over $25). Tell them we sent you 🙂
Win a pair of Real Kids Shades
Today one of you has the chance to win a pair of shades for your kids (aged 0-12 years). Let’s get some more eyes protected!
As usual, please use the Rafflecopter Widget below to enter to win. The winner will be emailed and announced on this post in the Rafflecopter Widget. Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me at mountainmamatales(at)gmail(dot)com so I can help! This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Per our request, Real Kids Shades generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own. You can find my full disclosure here.
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