Considering all of the crazy weather patterns the country experienced during this past fall and winter, it seems just as likely that this summer could be a scorcher as it is that it could end up being rather mild. Realistically, it will probably be some combination of the two, and different areas around the U.S. will see their fair share of both types of weather. Here at WinterKids.com, we’re normally focused on protecting our kids from the elements during cold and stormy weather, making sure they stay warm and dry. Now that seasons are turning, the thing we’re paying attention to the most is the sun and its rays.
Stay Friends with the Sun
Sunlight is fantastic. It feels good, helps our bodies produce needed vitamins, and gives life to all of the lovely flora and fauna we enjoy during the summer months. Longer days and more free play time, however, mean more exposure to the sun. We all want our kids to be active and outside as much as possible, and in order for that to happen, we’ve got to make sure we’re giving them the ability to do so.
We recently did a post on our WinterWomen.com Blog about the importance of sunscreen. Obviously this is vital for extended outdoor fun, especially for younger children and those of us with fair skin. An equally important piece of the protection puzzle is eye wear. Sunglasses not only help kids see during bright sunny days, they also protect their eyes from harmful UV and visible light rays that can have negative effects. Plus there’s some pretty cool looking shades out there.
Choosing the Right Pair
When choosing sunglasses for you little ones, there are several things to take into account. First off, no matter how hard you try, they’re going to get stepped on, chewed on, dropped, sat on in car seats, and be subjected to all sorts of torture. Your best bet is to look for glasses that have flexible frames. Not only will these help keep them from snapping, frames that are allowed to bend let the lenses simply pop out during rough use. Rigid frames can crack or shatter lenses when under duress.
Another important feature to consider is the protection the lenses provide. Most kids sunglasses on the market block 100% of UV rays, but visible light is also an important factor. Typically, lenses for ski goggles as well as sunglasses will have a VLT percentage listed somewhere in their features. VLT stands for variable light transmission. The percentage refers to the amount of light from the visible spectrum that is allowed to pass through the lens. For instance, a lens with a 30% VLT rating blocks 70% of visible light transmission.
As with ski goggles, the more light a lens blocks, the better it works in sunnier conditions. Usually a VLT percent of 20 or less, or a lens that blocks 80% or more of visible light, works best for sunny days. These are going to be your darker, smoke colored lenses, as well as some of the more reflective colored tints. Many are also polarized for additional protection and vision clarity. Try to steer clear of rose, orange, and other lenses with light-colored tints. Although these lens types can be great for depth perception and increasing detail, they simply do not protect the eye as well when the sun is in full force.
Whether it’s boating, camping, heading to the playground or just going for a walk, a good pair of sunglasses can be the difference between squinting all day and actually being able to see what’s going on.