12 Days of Gear Giveaways: Day 4 - Great Gear for Kids

Kids’ Sunglasses are Crucial, Protective Gear, NOT Accessories *Review + Giveaway*


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.Kids' Sunglasses are Crucial Protective Gear, NOT Accessories *Review + Giveaway*
  • 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.Kids' Sunglasses are Crucial Protective Gear, NOT Accessories *Review + Giveaway*
  • 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.Kids' Sunglasses are Crucial Protective Gear, NOT Accessories *Review + Giveaway*

Buy them

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.

© 2014, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

41 thoughts on “Kids’ Sunglasses are Crucial, Protective Gear, NOT Accessories *Review + Giveaway*”

  1. Our 5 month old, Arbor, absolutely needs these! My husband and I both have light sensitivity and protect our eyes. We need to protect hers too.

    1. I have two boys—a brown haired, brown eyed tan four year old and a super light complected blonde haired blue eyed son. My four year old is very good at keeping hats and sunglasses on. The 20 month old is not! I was wondering if the Explorer glasses that “L” is wearing have a strap around the back? Thanks, Claire

  2. Absolutely! We live in SoCal and I can’t imagine going out without my shades, so why would my kid? For the baby we typically either use the stroller canopy or a wide brim sun hat, but now that she’s awake a little more I’ll be looking for her first pair soon.

  3. Definitely wanting to get Miss K used to wearing sunglasses. I am not used to wearing them, therefore I really had to work at getting used to them!

  4. Great post! My two year old freaks out with the sun in her eyes and I never feel like the cheapies from Carter’s are really providing her protection. Hope I win but if not I see stocking stuffers in her future 🙂

  5. I totally agree, just hard to keep up with yet another item. Plus, we have one child in glasses so far, so that introduces a complication.

  6. We have been trying since our Little was an infant with no success. Would love to find a pair of classes he will actually keep on!

  7. This summer, it was my mission to get my 2 year old to wear as religiously as he wears his hat. We are on our third pair of sunglasses so I’m willing to try anything! I am also interested in the other brand that you said you would recommend to see if it’s one that we already tried…

  8. We try to get our kids to wear them, but its a huge hassle. Our son wears julbo glasses and likes them but they aren’t “cute” enough for our 2 yr old daughter. the RKS look like they will fit the bill, thanks for the review.

  9. My kiddos LOVE their sunglasses, and really make a big fuss if they are accidentally left behind on an adventure – we’ve had to turn around more than once! We own a few pair of Julbo, and they seem to hold up well. This is the first i’ve heard of Real Kid Shades. So often i see young children and babies without eyewear in full sun and they look miserable, while their parents have their own sunglasses on. Our rule is that if I forget to bring the kids sunglasses, I go without until we get theirs. Thats only fair! Not only is it dangerous to be outdoors unprotected, its also painful – especially if you’re used to having your eyes shaded. My son went through a phase around the age of 16 months where he would refuse to keep his glasses on. It only lasted a few weeks. The first snowfall of the year combined with the bright sun had him crying out for his glasses! I’m so thankful you are promoting eye-safety!

  10. We have a pair for our son, which are awesome because they are small and lightweight. BUT…because he puts them on himself, he has bent the sides out and although they bend back in, they don’t fit very tight anymore. So he doesn’t like to wear them because they fall off easily. Would love a pair that stayed put on his face!

  11. My six year old has prescription glasses that have the transitional lenses built-in so he always has his sunglasses on, but my 16 month old does not. I’ve purchased sunglasses for him and threw them out of the stroller somewhere. I think winning these would be fantastic to help him wear them since they have a strap. I never thought about using a strap before. I always have my sunglasses on and would love for him to follow his brother’s and my example.

  12. We love kids’ sunglasses! I had a great pair for my daughter that were cute, stayed on, and have 100% UVA/UVB protection. But, they weren’t too sturdy… she ended up bending the arm too much and they broke. Now I know I need a stronger pair that still protects her eyes. 🙂

  13. I work in the adventure recreation field and I am always advocating that sun protection is used all year! I have two young girls and it is difficult to find unbreakable, affordable, and wearable sunglasses. Thank you for this review!

  14. Hoping to do this right with Baby P…tried to start my boys wearing shades early, but Itotally failed in consistency department I think 🙁

  15. Totally need to get my twins some glasses, we spend way too much time outside to not have them. Thanks for the informative and helpful post.

  16. I agree, sunglasses are not just fashion accessories (although they do look adorable!). I never leave the house without mine, and neither should my kiddos.

  17. My son (six) loves to wear sunglasses, just because it’s cool. The sunglasses he has are not of the best quality, but these sunglasses would be excellent for keeping his eyes safe from harmful rays.

  18. We live in Vegas and I am a stickler for sun protection. My kids must wear sunglasses outside, and I have had huge hats on my 7 month old because I haven’t had glasses that would stay on her yet.

  19. These look so cool! We have an array of sun hats, but haven’t found any sunglasses that are worth any money. We will certainly be ordering some!

  20. I am going to order a pair of these for my 11 month old. We want him to have good eye protection that he will (hopefully) keep on! 🙂

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