7.23.2012

Where are Your Sunglasses? Why You and Your Kids Should Not Leave Home Without Them

You may have noticed while reading my blog that this blue-eyed family never leaves home without sun shades. 

We’ve been late leaving for school many times because my son’s sunglasses weren’t where they should have been, which is in a designated area in the kitchen so we can grab and go for a speedy exit each morning. He’s known in school as the kid who wears sunglasses, and, of course, because he’s never without his shades, I dubbed him Mr. Cool on the blog.  His sister is following in his footsteps. 

Sunglasses are just part of our life. To us, wearing them is like brushing our teeth.



Somehow, I got lucky, and my kids eventually got in the habit of wearing sunglasses.  It’s not a struggle for us.  Truthfully, we can’t go anywhere without them.  And that’s good, according to The Vision Council, because children receive three times the annual sun exposure of adults, and research has shown that their young eyes are especially susceptible to UV-radiation-related harm.  Sunglasses are a must for young eyes, but it’s not always easy to get children to wear the glasses.

I started my kids at an early age with sunglasses, but it didn’t click with my first child until he was about 2.  He used to scream in the car because the sun was in his eyes.  Those were some rough years, and there wasn’t much I could do about it.   By the time Baby Diva was born, she wanted to copy her big brother, and she began wearing sunglasses at a much earlier age.



In a special webinar meeting last week with The Vision Council, I learned that decades of sun exposure make older eyes much more prone to visual problems and disease from the cumulative damage of UV radiation.  Studies are also suggesting that blue eyes are at more risk for UV damage than brown eyes. 

It was an eye-opening chat because even though I knew sunglasses were important, I don’t think I knew how important they were, especially for children. 

Both my husband and I have no memory of wearing sunglasses as children.  And if my child had not cried when he was in the sun, I’m not sure I would have really thought about him wearing sunglasses at such a young age.

I’m not alone.  In a recent poll, 73 percent of parents said they wore sunglasses to protect their eyes from Ultraviolet radiation, but only 58 percent said that their children wore sunglasses, too. And sunglasses aren’t needed just for sunny days.  UV-radiation is harmful on cloudy days, too.




My son has a high-quality pair of sunglasses that I purchased at a sunglass shop. My daughter, on the other hand, wears a lot of character-type glasses that I bought at a drug store.  I think at last count we had six pairs.  Sunglasses like those are OK, but you need to make sure that the glasses have a sticker on them that says they are rated for UV protection. The label "UV 380" covers all UVA and UVB rays. 

The Vision Council suggests that you not buy sunglasses from a street vendor because even though the glasses may have those important labels, they are probably fake and will not give you the protection you need.


When buying sunglasses, make sure they are comfortable because if they are not then they probably won’t be worn.  Getting kids to keep sunglasses on may be a challenge, but if you wear them then they may just follow along, especially the little ones. 

The Vision Council’s website has lots of tips to help your kids get in the habit and even to help you keep up with them, too.

We like to keep them in the same place at all times, but sometimes we ask, “Where are my sunglasses?”  It is true that half of Americans will break or lose their sunglasses this year.  Out of 10,000 people polled, 19 percent have no clue where their sunglasses are, and 2 percent said that they spend some time searching for their glasses only to find them on their head. 

That’s me.  It happens a lot when I’m in a rush. I blame it on parenthood.

Where are your sunglasses right now? 

 

Join me on Facebook for more discussion, Instagram for photos, and Twitter for short chats. 

Disclosure: I was asked to attend a webinar meeting with The Vision Council on behalf of the Motherhood.  I was compensated for my time. 







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