The weather is warming up, which means it’s the perfect time to take stock of baby’s sunny weather wardrobe. The cherry on top of an absolutely adorable breezy spring or summer ensemble? Baby sunglasses. These adorable accessories not only complete every outdoor-ready ensemble, they provide invaluable sun protection that those precious infant peepers shouldn’t be without (especially as eye damage is cumulative and can start as soon as baby leaves the womb). We’ve seen plenty of sassy shades show up on shelves and online, but it’s worth noting that not every pair offers sufficient, pediatrician-recommended UVR safeguards.
Before you impulse buy those so-cute sunnies you’ve seen flooding your social feeds (and there is no judgment there!), be sure you read up on all the safety features first. If the percentage of protection against both UVA and UVB rays isn’t at least 99 percent, then you’ll want to keep shopping. And while the protection factor is most important when it comes to picking out proper infant sunglasses for your tiny one, it isn’t the only thing to keep your sights on: Comfort, fit, durability and fashion are all worthy specs in this buying game! Read on for top shopping tips, plus a list of the best baby sunglasses on the market.
Do Babies Need Sunglasses?
In short, yes, they absolutely do. Everything about a baby grows and matures in time; they’re incredibly sensitive in infancy, through toddlerhood and into their youth (that goes for any child under the age of 10). While they may squint and close their eyes to intentionally block out rays, because their eyelids are so thin and delicate, not only are they at risk for sunburns, they also can’t filter out the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays as effectively as older teens and adults.
Plus, according to Alexis Phillips-Walker, DO, a pediatrician in Atascocita, Texas, children are more at risk for retinal damage from UV rays, because their pupils are larger and the lens inside the eye is clearer, allowing more absorption of UV radiation into the eye. Even just one day of sun without protection can lead to irreversible UV damage, cautions Phillips-Walker.
When Can Babies Wear Sunglasses?
Ideally, babies under 6 months should be kept out of the sun as much as possible. The recommendation goes hand-in-hand with pediatricians’ advice not to use sunscreen on newborns and infants. Until they reach the age of 6 months, babies should be protected from the sun with umbrellas, canopies, breathable blankets and sun hats that can adequately shade their eyes and the rest of their face. They can also wear UV-resistant clothing and swimsuits as an added veil of protection, but the more time they can spend out of direct sunlight, the better.
Once babies hit that half-year mark, though, the American Academy of Ophthalmology green-lights the use of sunglasses in tandem with brimmed hats and dermatologist-approved sunblocks, as long as they meet standard safety levels for UV and impact protection. Most high-quality sunglasses will meet those precautionary benchmarks, but if you’re not shopping from a professional eyewear destination or purchasing from an ophthalmologist, you’ll need to weed through any cheaply made novelty pairs, which are rarely equipped with the requisite 99 or 100 percent UV protection.
What to Look for When Buying Baby Sunglasses
When searching for the best baby sunglasses, you’ll want to look for baby sunglasses with a UV400 label, which guarantees 99 to 100 percent protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Once the UV protection percentages check out, you can move onto other criteria, such as comfort and full coverage. “If you can’t afford to do full custom-fit glasses, you can still find a variety of wraparound styles that offer full sun protection for your baby,” reassures Phillips-Walker. “The glasses should fit just beyond the eye, without being uncomfortable, for full protection—and you can also help amplify the protection by having your child wear a hat.”
According to Phillips-Walker, here are a few other tidbits to bear in mind as your sunglasses hunt heats up:
- Comfort and fit. “Sunglasses with a strap around the head or silicone sleeves that cover the arm of the sunglasses enable a better fit,” she notes. “Active children should have sunglasses made of impact-resistant polycarbonate with scratch-proof lenses, and frames should be made of a material that is bendable but not breakable.” Babies are fragile, so of course any gear they’re wearing should be slender, flexible and soft. You can find sunglasses made from a number of materials, but rubber and lightweight plastic are priority for the comfort they provide.
- Design and durability. If you ask any pediatrician or pediatric ophthalmologist, they’ll likely tell you that impact-resistant frames are king, and that the best lenses are made of polycarbonate—a material much lighter than glass or plastic, which makes wearing them more comfortable. “Frames that fit properly not only protect against the sun’s UV rays, but also keep dust and other debris from getting into the child’s eyes,” notes Phillips-Walker. “Spring hinges also help keep the fit of the frame snug, reducing the chance of the glasses falling off. And a static or removeable elastic band can keep the frames securely attached to the head, while simultaneously preventing damage or loss.” Straps or stretchy bands can be a parent’s best friend—just be sure to keep an eye out for baby at all times, as anything hanging around their necks can easily become a choking hazard.
- Polarized versus nonpolarized. Just like your own sunglasses, baby sunglasses are available in polarized or nonpolarized pairs. All it means is that the lenses are treated with a periphery chemical that can better filter out light. Phillips-Walker says that it has very little to do with sun protection. “If you have a child with extra sensitive eyes, a polarized set of lenses can allow them to see better in highly reflective environments, like being out in the snow, floating in a pool or riding on a boat.” Otherwise, opting for the polarized set of shades usually just equates to a larger price tag.
Where to Buy Baby Sunglasses
If you’re searching for a pair of sunglasses for baby that are as snazzy as they are safe, you’ll be over the moon by the selection of protective baby shades available at a handful of our favorite shops. Whether you’re looking for a classic wraparound style or a funky pair of baby aviators that’ll let you twin with your mini, these online stores have sunglasses to suit every style and budget.
- Maisonette. If iconic baby sunglasses brands—like Babiators, WeeFarers and more—give you all the feels, then Maisonette is a great place to start your search. This online store has tons of cool, retro sunnies for baby girls and boys alike.
- Carter’s. For cute baby sunglasses at affordable prices, Carter’s is where you’ll want to stock your cart. All of the brand’s sunglasses have built-in UVA and UVB protection, and you can score picks as low as $8—talk about cheap and cheerful!
- Nordstrom. Think you’ll need to scoop up a set of sunny specs for yourself too? Then definitely keep Nordstrom bookmarked. The department store has just as many luxe and lovable sunglasses for your little boos as it does for you!
The Best Baby Sunglasses
The best baby sunglasses are stylish, sturdy and, most importantly, safe. Look for sunglasses that block harmful UVA and UVB sun rays, fit snugly and cover the entire eye area. Other hints of quality include shatter-resistant lenses and flexible frames that’ll withstand wear and tear (because you know those glasses will run the gauntlet with your little guy or girl!). Ready to start shopping? Here you’ll find infant sunglasses that offer all the sun protection your little one needs, and a bunch more perks you’ll love as parents.
Overall Best Baby Sunglasses
Babiators Original Navigators Sunglasses
We’ll kick things off with a classic style reimagined for infants. This option is a celeb-favorite (seriously, just search “babiators” and “celebrities” on Pinterest!), and we can see why. They provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, are BPA-free and have shatter-resistant lenses. The last is especially important since—let’s face it—they’re going to end up on the floor at one point or another.
- Sizing: 0-2 years; 3-5 years
- Flexible matte-rubber frames
- Babiators will send you a free replacement for glasses lost or broken within one year of purchase
- Come with a microfiber storage bag that doubles as a cleaning cloth
- Some parents say they run small for their toddler
- Pricey option
Best Baby Aviator Sunglasses
Babiators Jet Black Original Aviators
These signature UV400 lenses from Babiators offer 100 percent UVA and UVB protection and undergo rigorous testing to ensure they’re safe for your child, whether the sunglasses are on their face or in their mouth. These were the pair that put this much-adored brand on the map over a decade ago. No matter where your little one is rocking them, they’ll feel like a rockstar… or, you know, a maverick.
- Sizing: 0-2 years; 3-5 years
- Jet Black color is iconic, but these shades come in a two-tone “Pink Lemonade” too
- Heritage style has an impressive 10-year reputation to precede it
- Some dislike the Babiators logo on the side of the glasses
Best Polarized Baby Sunglasses
WeeFarers Polarized Sunglasses in New Tie Dye
Image: WeeStyle Co.
How cute are these pint-sized wayfarer-style polarized baby sunglasses? They provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection and come with bendable frames, impact-resistant lenses and even an adjustable strap. They’re available in sizes for kids ages 0 to 12 years old, and truly, the unboxing moment is a treat in and of itself. Plus, as much as we love the sophistication of the brand’s best-selling Tortoise Shell colorway, we’re even more excited about their newest tie-dye collection launch.
- Sizing: 0-12 months; 2-3 years; 4-6 years; 7-12 years
- Frames are made from carefully chosen, BPA-free materials
- Each pair includes a protective microfiber carrying pouch and strap
- Four different sizes means you can outfit the entire sibling squad!
- One-year warranty (and free replacement) comes only after registering the sunglasses within 30 days of your purchase
Best Affordable Baby Sunglasses
Carter’s Baby Classic Sunglasses
These trendy sunnies are ideal for all of your festive summer celebrations. Better yet, these glasses are cheap (score!), but they still don’t skimp on protection: The shatter-proof lenses protect against 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays, and the style is also available in a trendy wood pattern.
- Sizing: 0-3T
- Least expensive pair on our list
- Rubber temples are super comfortable for delicate baby skin
- Frames are 100 percent polycarbonate plastic and incredibly easy to wipe clean
- Don’t come with a strap for secure fastening
Best Baby Girl Sunglasses
Babiators Irresistible Iris Flower Lavender Polarized Mirrored Lenses
With fashion-forward lavender mirrored lenses, this just-launched Irresistible Iris colorway makes these famous floral frames the most stylish shades to steal for your little miss sunshine! Like all Babiators, the award-winning sunglasses protect against 100 percent of UV rays and are virtually indestructible, thanks to bendy rubber construction. Best of all, they come in three dynamic sizes that fit babies, toddlers and kids aged 3 months to 10 years.
- Sizing: 0-2 years; 3-5 years; 6+ years
- Polarized lenses reduce harsh glare and improve baby’s visibility in the sun
- Flexible, comfortable rubber frames and shatter-resistant lenses won’t break with your rough-and-tumble baby or toddler
- Included microfiber storage bag doubles as a cleaning cloth
- Blooming petal frames may be bulky for little ones under 2 years old
Best Baby Boy Sunglasses
Hipster Kid Extra Fancy Wayfarers in Aquaberry
For a fun neon splash of color to your kiddo’s outfits, these ultra bright Caribbean blue-colored glasses are perfect. Hipster Kid’s line of polarized, shatter-resistant wayfarers in glossy, 90s-inspired colors feature 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, a stay-put strap and fun tinted lenses that give your sidekick “cool” points and confidence wherever they go. Sun protection, but make it fashion!
- Sizing: 0-2 years; 3-6 years
- Glasses meet all stringent CPSIA, FDA and CE standards, so they’re incredibly safe and durable
- Mismatched strap adds another dimension of hipster quirk and sensibility for your Brooklyn-ite trendsetter
- Brand’s replacement warranty lasts for a year after purchase, but you need to register and it currently only applies to US shoppers
Best Baby Sunglasses With Strap
COCOSAND One-Piece Baby Sunglasses With Strap
These baby sunglasses with a strap are just the pair you’ll want in your diaper bag or beach tote when you’re strolling on a sunny day or breezing down the boardwalk with your little walker in tow. The featherweight Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) frame and integrated nose pad are light and durable without putting pressure on your little beach bum’s temples or the bridge of their nose and ears. This is huge, because as anyone with a little one knows, they’ll bail on wearing anything that poses even the slightest threat of discomfort. That said, if you want to increase the likelihood that they’ll keep them on, take advantage of COCOSAND’s neoprene elastic strap.
- Sizing: 0-24 months
- Made with glare-free, UVA, UVB and blue light-blocking, impact-resistant lenses
- Adjustable neoprene strap is moisture-wicking and secure (without being constricting)
- Available in a variety of fun colors for both boys and girls
- Strap may still be too much for a newborn, despite the 0-2 year manufacturer’s recommendation
- Not a great option for babies who don’t like things put on their heads (try a hat first)
Best Newborn Baby Sunglasses
Green Sprouts Flexible Sunglasses
Image: Green Sprouts
Searching for stylish newborn sunglasses? Run, don’t walk, to this positively perfect pair by Green Sprouts. Offering 100 percent UVA and UVB sun protection, these super flexible shades come in four cute colors (white, navy, rose pink and black) and scratch-resistant lenses. The best part? These cute sunnies are equipped with a removable, great-stretch cord with an adjustable toggle to tighten or loosen the fit on your babe. From their first few weeks to their pre-K days, your growing buds will live in these whenever the sun is shining.
- Sizing: 0-24 months; 2T-4T
- Made from materials without hormone-disrupting additives (including BPA, BPS, BPF, BFDGE, NOGE or BADGE)
- Available colors all coordinate with the brand’s full collection of swimwear and sun wear
- Perfect lightweight designs to stock up on (one for the diaper bag, one for the car, etc.)
- New adjustable strap design replaces the old (loosely-fitting) design, so reviews about the new functionality aren’t yet available
Best Trendy Baby Sunglasses
Snapper Rock Baby Blue Bay Recycled Sunglasses by Frankie Ray
These stylish shades will take your little minnow from day to night, poolside to coastline, while you admire just how well they complement their swimsuits and make those beach tent snack breaks all the more precious (and comfortable, because what parent enjoys their day at the beach when baby is crying about the bright sun in their eyes?). They come with a soft and protective portable pouch. And guess what, environmentally conscious parents? They’re made from recycled marine debris. Eco-mindedness for the win!
- Sizing: One-size fits ages 0-3 years
- Pair nicely with Snapper Rock’s UPF50+ swimwear
- Keyhole style is very comfortable since the weight distribution is more even
- Consider the “kids” sunglasses (ages 2-10 years old) if your kiddo requires a slightly roomier fit
- Most expensive pair on our list
Best Durable Baby Sunglasses
Roshambo Baby McFly Shades
These sunglasses for babies do it all—while also contributing to a good cause. They’re ultra lightweight (they can float!), shatter-resistant, UV-protective, flexible, chewable (they’re made from a safe, teether-like material) and compatible with prescription lenses. Plus, a portion of Roshambo’s sales go toward autism support. Pick up a pair of the matching adult shades for a too-cute mommy-and-me matchup.
- Sizing: Baby size fits 0-24 months; toddler size fits 2-4 years
- Frames are baby/toddler-safe BPA-, phthalate-, lead- and latex-free
- Brand will send a replacement free of charge if you lose or even scratch a lens
- Naturally buoyant, so they’re perfect for the pool and beach
- Only available in red frames (with gray, green, blue, purple and chrome lenses)
- Cases and straps are sold separately
About the experts:
Alexis Phillips, DO, is a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, she completed her residency at Authority Health/Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
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