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Experts weigh in on kids and sunglasses

Experts weigh in on whether babies and children

Experts weigh in on whether babies and children should wear sunglasses. Shown here: Printed leggings, $25, shirtdress, $40, and aviator sunglasses, $20, gap.com. Credit: Handout

Q. Should babies wear sunglasses?

A. "I really can't argue against it," says Dr. Steven Rubin, co-chief of pediatric ophthalmology for the North Shore-LIJ Health System. "Any ultraviolet protection is always a good idea."

Babies and children should also wear brimmed hats, he says, because up to half of the sun's UV rays can enter the eyes through the top of the sunglasses. Hat and sunglasses in tandem offer the best protection.

Make sure the sunglasses protect against 100 percent of both UV A and UV B rays. The darkness of the glasses isn't related to the UV protection, so make sure the sunglasses state the level of protection explicitly.

Sunglasses for babies and toddlers often come with a flexible band that wraps around the head to keep them in place.

Exposure to the sun's rays can cause issues decades down the road, exacerbating or raising the risk of problems such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, Rubin says.

At geteyesmart.org, the American Academy of Ophthalmologists also recommends:

Be especially protective during midday, when the sun is strongest. Also, be ultra-protective on the water, because the sun is reflected off it.

Choose wraparound-style sunglasses to prevent rays from entering on the sides of the eyes.

Have kids wear sunglasses even on overcast days, because UV rays can pass through the clouds. They should wear sunglasses even when outdoors in winter.

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