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