Do I really need to worry about the winter sun and my children’s eyes?
The simple answer is yes. And the really bad news is that UV damage, usually caused by exposure to bright sun, is cumulative over a lifetime, meaning that protecting your children’s eyes for a couple of months of the year is not really sufficient to provide long-lasting eye health for your children.
Apart from the obvious risks of snow-blindness when you and the kids hit the slopes, even the everyday bright winter sun is something to be aware of and take action to protect against where you can. So, based on our experience, here are a couple of things to bear in mind when it comes to protecting babies and children’s eyes from the winter sun:
• When you do head off to the mountains or higher ground, remember that snow reflects up to 80% of the sun’s rays and, since children are smaller and closer to the ground, snow-blindness is a real risk for them. In any snow setting, sunglasses for babies and children and sun-protection for kids in general is essential.
• It’s easy to miss that your baby or very young child sitting in a forward facing pushchair might be squinting into the sun on a cold but bright winter’s stroll around town. Stick some eye protection, such as a pair of sunnies for kids, in your handbag and a spare pair in the buggy pouch for easy access whatever the season.
• We don’t tend to think about it beyond our own difficulties with driving in winter, but in the colder months, with significantly less coverage from leafy trees, the low winter sun is often shining directly into our children’s eyes. A couple of pairs of sunglasses for babies in the car are an easy fix to the problem – and far more effective than shades on the windows which (as we all know) are ALWAYS in the wrong position…!
We all instinctively think about sticking our children’s sunglasses in our beach bags, but thinking about them in the winter is a lot less hard wired. But if we can all get into the habit of remembering then the outlook for our kids’ vision is significantly brighter.