Buying Sunglasses for Children

Sunglasses for Kids

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You probably wouldn't hit the beach without your sunscreen and shades, but what about your kids? Many parents forgo the sunglasses for their children, not realizing that the sun's UV rays are as damaging to the eyes as they are to the skin. The average child spends more time outdoors then their parents, and many experts believe that by age 18, our eyes have gotten 80% of their total lifetime UV exposure.

Look for children's sunglasses with 100% UV protection and encourage your child to wear them whenever he or she is outdoors. UV protection is very important even on overcast days. It's never too early to start teaching good habits. You can even find sunglasses in infant sizes!

Frame styles for children
While it is still possible to find children's sunglasses in a myriad of candy colors with cartoon characters, child-size versions of adult styles are becoming increasingly popular. There are metal frames; plastic frames; oval, round, and rectangular lenses; grown-up colors like black and tortoise shell; and even wraparound and sporty styles. Polycarbonate lenses are a popular choice among parents, since they are very durable.

To encourage enthusiasm, try letting your children pick their own frames. If they love how they look, it will be easier to convince them to wear the shades later. Just make sure that whatever they choose has 100% UV protection.

If your child already wears eyeglasses, you might be able to get sunglass lenses that clip on or attach magnetically.

Extras to look for
Must-have accessories for children's sunglasses include a hard-shell case and a neck cord. These will protect the glasses from damage and help keep your child from misplacing them. You will probably also want cleaning cloths and solution, unless you already own have some from your own eyewear.

Where to find children's sunglasses
Many eyewear retailers carry children's sunglasses, including Sunglass Hut, Lenscrafters and Pearle Vision. Your local optician likely carries child-size frames also.

Look for a store with a large selection of frames and experienced, child-friendly staff. You may even be able to find a store near you that specializes in children's glasses.

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