The importance of sunglasses for children

*This post is in collaboration with monkey monkey*

How often do you wear sunglasses?  I wear mine almost constantly through the summer months.  I invested in prescription sunglasses for the first time over six years ago after getting sick of having to stick my shades over my normal glasses when I was driving!  Since then I practically live in them – and actually not just in the height of summer, the low winter sun can be an absolute bind when you’re regularly driving across the top of the M62.  And yet, despite the fact I wear my sunglasses with such regularity, my children don’t seem to be so bothered with theirs.  Every summer I buy them new sunglasses and they wear them occasionally but often they can be found in the bottom of my bag or left in the car.  Since they were fairly small, I’ve always kept them a pair each in the car as there’s no escape when the sun is shining through the windows is there however my new car has tinted rear windows so nobody really complains about getting the sun in their eyes any more.

In truth, their sunglasses are more of a fashion accessory, something they wear because they look cool.  When it comes to keeping the sun out of his eyes Ben tends to prefer a peaked cap and the girls never really complain.

monkey monkey sunglasses for children

New research has shown that we’re not alone in this, nearly half of mums and dads will always apply sunscreen on a sunny day, compared with just 23% who make their kids put sunglasses on.

I think we’ve all learned the importance of sunscreen over the years – we know the immediate pain and discomfort that comes with sunburn and the long term damage that over exposing our skin to the sun can cause, however how often do we think about the damage the sun can do to our eyes?  I’ll hold my hands up and say I don’t.  It has never even occurred to me.  I mean I know you shouldn’t look directly at the sun and I worry that squinting in sun will give me frown lines – but I’ve never really thought about how the sun’s harmful UV rays could be damaging my eyes, or my children’s.

According to the World Health Organisation, 80% of a person’s lifetime exposure to harmful UV light happens before the age of 18.  This, combined with the fact that children’s eyes are naturally more susceptible to sun damage than adults’ means we really do need to be thinking more about protecting our children’s eyes.

Because children’s pupils are larger than those of adults, they let in more UV light and due to not yet being fully developed, they have less natural protection from the harmful effects of UV light.  Wearing good quality sunglasses with high level UV protection should be as much a part of our sun protection routine as putting on a hat and sunscreen.

monkey monkey children's sunglasses

According to research conducted by children’s eyewear brand monkey monkey more children are likely to wear glasses on holiday (73%) or at the weekend (66%), and just 37% wear sunglasses to school.  I can totally see why this would be the case – I think we’re all that bit more aware of protecting ourselves from the sun when we’re on holiday aren’t we?  I do send sunglasses to school with my children most days during the summer months (along with hats and extra sun cream) but of course I have no control over whether they wear them or not – whether they forget to put them on, don’t want to wear them or just lose them, whilst they are at school I’m not there to monitor the situation.  As a teacher I do always remind my classes to put on their hats and sunglasses before going out to play if they have brought them – but beyond that it’s up to the children to remember to put them on – and keep them on!

Emily MacDonagh, a junior doctor and mum of two, is keen to promote the importance of protecting our children’s eyes from damaging ultra violet light.  She says;

“With all the time they spend outdoors, it’s thought that kids have three times the exposure to damaging ultra violet light than adults so it’s crucial that when the suns out, kids get their sunnies on.

Previously for me, the number one factor when buying sunglasses for my children has been price – sunglasses are so easily damaged or lost that I’ve tended to buy cheap.  Next on the list has been how they look.  Not once have I considered the level of UV protection that the glasses provided. Not. Once.

monkey monkey sunglasses for kids

All monkey monkey sunglasses provide UVA/UVB protection and include a free case and cleaning cloth.  Their lenses are UV400 and bear the European CE mark.  And you know what? They look pretty cool too!

Now that I’ve had my eyes opened (pun intended!) I will be ensuring that my little gang wear their sunglasses just as often as they wear their sunscreen and hats – if not more.  Dave and I wear our sunglasses regularly so we’re already setting the right example, now we just need to make sure our kids understand that when we’re asking them to wear their shades, it isn’t just so they look cool, it’s to keep their eyes safe in the same way the sun cream keeps their skin safe.

monkey monkey sunglasses for girls

Have you got any top tips for making sure your children wear their sunglasses?

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27 Comments

  1. August 30, 2018 / 7:59 pm

    Loving the photographs! I’ll admit that I don’t always put sunglasses on Olly but he does wear a cap a lot of the time if it’s sunny. Shocking statistics though which have really made me think! I’ll definitely ask Olly to wear his more now, thanks!

    • Colette
      Author
      August 30, 2018 / 8:20 pm

      Apparently wearing a cap isn’t sufficient protection for the eyes as the rays can be reflected off any surface – not something that would have ever occurred to me!

  2. August 30, 2018 / 8:02 pm

    I had tiny baby sunnies for my.babies and then once they were about 5 I really didn’t carry it on, which is daft now you point it out. I think we’ll definitely get some next spring.

    • Colette
      Author
      August 31, 2018 / 8:53 am

      I remember having them for Ben when he was tiny but I also worried about damaging his eyes if he was wearing the wrong sort of glasses – clearly I should have stuck to it!

  3. August 30, 2018 / 8:57 pm

    I really felt guilty this year, as I did buy sunglasses for my little ones but they were so cheap, I imagine they weren’t really helping them at all. I will definitely get them some quality sunglasses asap! Really shocking statistics though!

    • Colette
      Author
      August 31, 2018 / 8:52 am

      I’ve always bought cheap sunglasses for fear of the getting lost or broken, I know they had *some* protection but have no idea how much!

  4. bryanna skye
    August 30, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    80%???? oh my goodness how is this not talked about more?! thanks so much for sharing xx

    • Colette
      Author
      August 31, 2018 / 8:51 am

      Shocking isn’t it!

  5. August 30, 2018 / 10:04 pm

    I haven’t been good at getting the kids to wear sunglasses, I am not very good myself. These look very good and I am off to look around

    • Colette
      Author
      August 31, 2018 / 8:51 am

      I guess we just fight our battles don’t we – we all know that sunscreen matters but I never knew how important sunglasses were!

  6. August 30, 2018 / 10:08 pm

    I would have loved those sunglasses as a child. I really agree that they are important! 🙂 x

    • Colette
      Author
      August 31, 2018 / 8:49 am

      Me too! I don’t think we ever really wore sunglasses as kids!

  7. Nadia
    August 30, 2018 / 10:16 pm

    So important to protect their eyes and install good habits from the beginning.

    • Colette
      Author
      August 31, 2018 / 8:48 am

      Definitely – setting up good habits from the start is so important.

  8. August 30, 2018 / 10:51 pm

    This is always so overlooked isn’t it. We are currently waiting on prescription sunglasses for my son for this reason.

    • Colette
      Author
      August 31, 2018 / 8:47 am

      Gosh that’s definitely not something I’d have thought of – especially having waited so long to justify my own prescription sunglasses but they were honestly a complete game changer!

  9. August 31, 2018 / 9:29 am

    You raise a good point here never thought about the importance of Top of quality sunglasses for kids, this should be a top priority x

  10. August 31, 2018 / 11:56 am

    I find the kids will wear sunglasses now but trying to keep them on when they are tiny was almost impossible

  11. Sarah
    August 31, 2018 / 2:31 pm

    I had no idea about this until recently and I felt so guilty that I didn’t make them wear sunglasses! I am trying to be stricter now as it’s so important. Xx

  12. August 31, 2018 / 8:56 pm

    Sunglasses and eye care in general really is such an important thing – something we all need to make sure we think about!

  13. September 1, 2018 / 12:16 pm

    Such a good post on this, it’s so important to protect their eyes. They look adorable in their new sunglasses.

  14. September 1, 2018 / 12:21 pm

    I do make sure the kids’ sunglasses offer UV protection but I wish they weren’t so easy to lose. I’m always nagging about not putting their sunglasses down with the lenses faced downwards!

  15. September 1, 2018 / 10:46 pm

    Mine prefer to wear their caps too but my youngest has suffered from Hayfever quite badly over the last few years so we’ve been making sure they wear both caps and sunglasses and that they take them to school too.

  16. Sammie
    September 2, 2018 / 7:46 am

    My kid is going through a weird phase of wanting to wear hers indoors as well as outside so I’m just rolling with it. There will be no UV light damaging her eyes this year!

  17. September 3, 2018 / 10:05 pm

    Wearing sunglasses are so important to block out those UV rays – this is a great post to remind those with kids!

  18. September 5, 2018 / 12:34 pm

    My baby is very small to actually wear sunglasses but I have already a collection for her. Sunglasses are my favourite accessories. They look cute on babies and protect at the same time. Love your collection.

  19. September 5, 2018 / 6:30 pm

    Some really interesting facts and figures in this post – I had no idea of all the dangers. While I don’t have kiddies, I will pass this post over to a couple of my friends who do ☺ x

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