Sunglasses and a Sunsafe hat

Should young children wear sunglasses?

UV radiation damages the eyes as well as the skin. Damage to the eyes builds up over a lifetime and can cause serious eye problems, such as cataracts (clouding of the lens). Sunglasses protect the eyes from direct exposure to UV radiation and also reduce glare.

There’s no recommended age for a child to wear sunglasses, but the earlier their eyes are protected, the less their exposure to cumulative UV radiation.

Sunglasses are available even for small babies, but the real challenge is getting kids to keep them on.

If you decide to buy sunglasses for your child, make sure they meet the Australian Standard AS1067 (found on the swing tag) and fit closely to their face so that UV radiation can’t reach their eyes. Avoid toy sunglasses, which are great for dress-ups but little use for sun protection.

The best way to protect your child’s eyes is sunglasses and a sunsafe hat.

What’s a sunsafe hat?

Even without sunglasses, a well-designed hat can substantially reduce the amount of UV radiation reaching their eyes, while also protecting their face, neck, ears and head.

Recommended hats are broad brimmed (brim size at least 6cm), legionnaire or bucket (brim size at least 5cm). Avoid baseball caps — they don’t protect the ears and back of the neck. Make sure the hat is made of close-weave fabric and fits well. If the hat has a cord, shorten it to reduce the risk of it catching on equipment.

This information has been provided by the Cancer Council NSW.

For more information see Baby sun care or Baby Care.