The “slip, slop, slap” sun safety jingle is as much a part of the Aussie vernacular as thongs and Vegemite. After all, in many parts of Australia, UV levels are high enough to cause damage year-round, not just in the height of summer. But what isn’t widely publicised is the harm caused by UV radiation exposure to the eyes and the importance of kids sun safety. The danger to children’s eyes is even greater, yet many parents are unaware of the damage being caused by even just one day in the sun.
Optometrist, Emily Fletcher, explains that children’s eyes are in danger from UV radiation exposure in a number of ways. One of the most neglected areas when applying sunscreen is the delicate skin around the eyes. This skin, as well as the skin on the eyelid, is thinner in children than in adults. Also, until about age 10, as Adelaide A. Hebert, MD, professor and vice chair of dermatology, University of Houston explains, the lens of a child’s eye is clear. This means that more UV light reaches the back of the eye than it does in adults. This can result in UV damage to cells both at the front and back of the eye, leading to conditions such as pterygium, cataracts and macular degeneration.
UVR damage builds over time. The sooner you start protecting your children’s eyes from the sun, the lower their risk will be of ever developing eye problems. Sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat worn together, can reduce UV radiation exposure to the eyes by 98 percent. It is because of this, that sun safety guidelines were updated several years ago to include five essential steps for sun safety: slip slop, slap, seek and slide.
While seeking shade is a self-explanatory addition to kids sun safety, selecting kids’ sunglasses can be a little more bewildering. It can be hard to find ones that offer the best sun protection for little eyes, especially given the wide variety of cheap but ineffective options on offer.
The Cancer Council has the following recommendations:
The original Babiators were designed with this same goal in mind. To provide the highest level of protection for your children’s eyes. They achieve this through a combination of the frame design, and the quality of the lenses. The close-fitting wrap-around original Babiators are modeled after the style worn by air force pilots. The lenses provide 100% UV protection, meeting the Australian Standard AS 1067 and New Zealand Standard NZS 2003.
The Skin Cancer Foundation adds the following practical tips:
Babiators sunglasses match the active lifestyle of energetic toddlers and kids. The frames are bendable but unbreakable (Don’t believe us? Check out this video!). The lenses are high quality plastic – the safest option for kids. And if they do get lost or broken, you are covered by the brilliant Babiators Lost and Broken Guarantee.
Plus, to make sun safety fun, they come in a range of colourful and stylish designs that your children will love!
As Dr Hebert concludes: “We need to teach children early the importance of wearing sunglasses – just as we teach them to brush their teeth and wear a seatbelt, so that they develop good habits that last for life.”
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