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What UV Protection Should Baby Sunglasses Have? (Answered!)

As you probably already know if you’re reading this post, babies should be wearing sunglasses along side other sun protection such as hats, canopies, shades and suncream if they are outside when it is sunny. That said, there is a little bit of complexity around sunglasses lenses and what they mean. You might be asking yourself- what UV protection should baby sunglasses have?

We want to make this plain and simple. The UV protection on a pair of baby sunglasses (or any sunglasses for that matter) should be UV400 or 100% UV Protection. This should be shown on the packaging of the sunglass, or on the retailer website. This labelling declares that the sunglasses have been tested and that they block 99-100% of UV rays (including UVA and UVB).

About the importance of UV protection for babies

When it comes to UV protection, babies need all of the UV protection they can get. Why? Because people receive 80% of their lifetime exposure to UV rays before they reach the age of 18.

So what about sunglasses? The lens of a child’s eye will allow 70% more UV rays to enter the retina than an adult. Meaning the eyes of babies and young children are more sensitive to sunlight than adults. Infant eyelids are also more transparent, which allows a shorter wavelength of light to reach their retina. Pretty crazy, right?

Excessive sunlight at a young age can potentially damage the eyes and and may contribute to the onset of other eye-related conditions in the future. This includes AMD (age-related macular degeneration) and cataracts

So, just as you would protect your baby’s skin from the sun, it’s important to protect their delicate eyes too.

What is the difference between UV400 and 100% UV Protection?

UV400 and 100% UV Protection labels mean exactly the same thing. Both labels mean that the pair of sunglasses have been tested to the relevant testing standard (in the UK this is BS EN 12312-1) and block out 99-100% of UV rays.

In fact, the ‘CE’ mark or ‘UKCA’ mark on any pair of sunglasses show that the sunglasses have been tested to the correct standard. Sunglasses have to achieve 99-100% UV Protection (aka UV400) when tested to the sunglasses standard (BS EN 12312-1) in order to be stamped with ‘CE’ or ‘UKCA.’

At Petit Peepers, all of our baby sunglasses meet the BS EN 12312-1 standard, and offer UV400, 100% UV Protection.

What about filter categories?

You may notice that baby sunglasses (and adult sunglasses) have information about Filter Category 1, 2, 3 (and sometimes even 4). This is completely separate to UV protection. The filter category refers to the tint of the lenses, and is related to comfort, rather than whether the lens blocks out UV rays.

A pair of sunglasses that is labeled as Filter Category 1, will provide just as much UV protection as a pair of sunglasses that is labeled Filter Category 3. However, the difference is the tint of the lens. A Filter Category 1 lens (also known as FC1), will have a very light tint. In contrast, a Filter Category 3 lens (also known as FC3) will have a dark tint.

Filter Category 3 will offer the most comfortable tint for most day to day activities. It will shade the eyes adequately from bright sunlight. All of our sunglasses at Petit Peepers have Filter Category 3 lenses. We believe that this is the most comfortable lens for babies and toddlers when they are outdoors in the sunshine.

Where can I buy a pair of baby sunglasses with good UV protection?

We are a little bit biased, but all of the sunglasses here at Petit Peepers have offer the optimal 100% UV protection. They have been expertly researched, designed and developed to offer the best fit for your baby (our founder has over 8 years of experience developing eyewear, so she knows what she’s doing!)

If you would prefer to shop elsewhere (hey, we don’t mind as long as your baby’s eyes are getting protected!), look for labelling on the lens, packaging or product description that says “100% UV Protection” or “UV400.” Be sure to also check that the ‘CE’ mark or ‘UKCA’ mark has been printed on the frame. This ensures that it has been tested properly to the correct standard.

What should I look for in a pair of baby sunglasses?

You’re already reading this article about what UV protection should baby sunglasses have, so it goes without saying, look for 100% UV Protection or UV400 frames (they both mean the same thing!).

Other things you may wish to consider include:

  • A great fit. Baby sunglasses should cover the baby’s eyes, without big gaps that can let the sunlight in. They should fit comfortably without being too tight, and sit on the bridge of their nose. Check out our fit guide for more in depth fit tips.
  • A strap. Sunglasses with a strap will comfortably stay on your babies head, and allow a better fit when they are little. Once they get a little older and their head grows, you may wish to remove the strap.
  • ‘CE’ or ‘UKCA’ marking. This marking on the frame means that the sunglasses have been tested to the correct standards for the country that they are being sold in. In the UK, this testing standard is called BS EN 12312-1.
  • Made from non-toxic materials (and tested to EN71-3). Ideally you want your baby sunglasses to be free from toxins and harmful chemicals, including BPA, lead, cadmium and phthalates.
  • Soft or semi-flexible material. Soft material will feel comfortable against your baby’s skin. This makes your baby more likely to wear them for longer periods of time when outdoors.

Although some baby sunglass designs may look like super cute and fashionable, they might not be the best option for your baby. Make sure that they fit your baby properly and confirm to the right standards to make sure your child gets the best protection from them.

Sun Safety Tips For Babies

Although our jam is baby sunglasses, we still know a thing or two about general sun safety for babies.

Sun safety for 0-6 months

The NHS recommends that you keep your baby out of the sun for the first six months of their life. Experts recommend that babies spend no time in the sun before they reach 6 months old.

You may find that it is hard to adhere to this completely. After all, it is not always possible to shade a pram at every angle while walking in the sunshine, and glare can bounce off water on the pavement, or a white pavement during the summer. For these eventualities, you may wish to consider sunglasses before the age of 6 months.

UV protective clothing

Plenty of leading retailers now offer UV protective clothing. Including hats, screens and canopies which are all great additions that work to keep your baby safe from UV rays.

Of course, shade and avoiding the sun is always the best option (especially between the hours of 10am-4pm) when it comes to baby sun safety. But, when needed, UV protective items (including sunglasses) are great tools to have.

Be sun safe in the water

It is possible to get sunburn on your eyes when you are in the water or on water (like if you’re in a boat, for example). This sunburn is called photokeratitis, and it is also known as “snow blindness.” It is caused when light reflects off the water and into your eyes. It can be pretty uncomfortable. Your child (and you!) should always wear sunglasses on a sunny day on or in the water.

Be sun safe in the car

Most car windows will block UVB light as standard. However, they do not block out UVA rays. Unless you have tinted windows, make sure that you adequately shade the windows of your car or use sunglasses to avoid damage from UVA rays for yourself and your kids.

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