The 10 Best Sunglasses For Toddlers, According To An Eye Expert
Sunnies for your little sunshine.
There’s arguably nothing cuter than a toddler in sunglasses. When their tiny, adorable faces rock a rad pair of shades, they instantly turn into a very cool person you want to grab coffee and a croissant with. But aside from sunglasses being awesome, they also serve an important purpose — to protect your toddler’s eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. (Sunglasses for babies are just as important.) Scary Mommy reached out to board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Bradley Katz, MD, PhD, to learn more about what to look for when shopping for the best sunglasses for toddlers.
Dr. Bradley Katz is a neuro-ophthalmologist and professor of Ophthalmology and Neurology at University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, in Salt Lake City. He is also the founder and chief scientist of Axon Optics. He earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine and received his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne.
Do Toddlers Need Sunglasses?
Toddlers should absolutely be wearing sunglasses, according to Dr. Katz, who says that “the lens in a toddler’s eye allows up to 70% more UV rays to pass through compared to the lens in an adult’s eye. These UV rays can in turn damage the cells in the eyes, and the lens is unable to repair itself. This means that the damage can accumulate over a lifetime.”
What Type Of Sunglasses Are Best For Toddlers?
Being proactive about sun protection and having your child wear a hat is a good start, but UV rays can reflect off the pavement, sand, water, and snow — all of which can damage the eyes, Katz says. Polarized lenses help filter out harsh glare and can be beneficial, but they aren’t essential. It’s most important for sunglasses to have at least a UV400 rating, which specifies that the lenses block 99 to 100% of light with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers, including UVA and UVB rays, the two most harmful kinds of UV light.
One of the great things about sunglasses designed specifically for toddlers is that most of them are extremely durable — dare we say unbreakable. Since we all know how destructive toddlers can be (said in the most loving way, of course), bendable sunglasses work best.
Katz suggests polycarbonate lenses “as they tend to be more impact-resistant and hence more durable. Ideally, the lenses should be scratch-resistant.” But let’s get real about toddlers, when it comes to sunglasses, comfort is key, so it’s important to find a style they’ll actually wear. Look for pairs that are lightweight with a snug fit — and options that come with straps will save you from having to restock when the inevitable pair falls off when you’re not looking.
Take a look at the 11 best sunglasses for toddlers below. From retro-inspired shades to wrap-around sports sunglasses, there’s sure to be a pair that’s just right for your toddler.
The Best Kids’ Polarized Sunglasses
These Retro Round Sunglasses That Are Freakin’ Adorable
It’s easy to see that these round, vintage-style plastic sunglasses are super stylish. They are also really affordable compared to similar sunglasses you might find in a cute children’s boutique. The UV400 lenses are polarized and scratch-resistant with a light-sensitive dimming layer. Amazon reviewers note that these glasses will best fit toddlers around the ages of 2 and 3, but the brand says that depending on the size of your child’s head, they might be able to be worn until the age of 6.
Helpful Review: “These sunglasses are SO cute on my daughter! She is obsessed with them and actually keeps them on. She is a 2 yearold and they fit her well”
Available Colors: 13
Some Affordable Sunglasses Available In A Ton Of Colors (& In Value Packs)
Made with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses, these budget-friendly polarized sunglasses are ideal for toddlers. They offer UV400 protection and unbreakable frames that can be twisted without incident. The sunglasses are available for ages 3 to 9. Choose from a wide variety of colors, as well an assortment of 2-packs and 3-packs.
Helpful Review: “My 3 year old son is rough with everything, and breaks new things within a few hours. but not these indestructible magical little sunglasses! [...] They came nicely packaged with a cleaning cloth and bag, along with a little keychain sunglass screwdriver! And for under $10, I thought that was a great deal. The arms are flexible and bend right back into shape, I even put them on myself and they didn’t stretch out!”
Available Colors: 34
A Pair Of Splurge-Worthy Heart-Shaped Sunnies
Every kid needs a solid pair of heart sunglasses. And by “needs,” we mean wants. These Babiators are designed for kids ages 0 to 2, 3 to 5, and 6+. The frames are made of rubber and are guaranteed not to break when they’re bent, twisted, or stepped on. In fact, they company claims they will replace the sunglasses for free if they are broken or lost within the first year. The lenses are polarized with 100% UVA and UVB protection.
Helpful Review: “I am so glad I decided to get these!! We hike a lot and they fit great and looks so adorable in them. Cute, comfortable and keeps the sun out of her eyes so she can see where she’s going.”
Available Colors: 4
Some Aviator Sunglasses Made Of Bendable Silicone
If your child needs sunglasses that are incredibly bendable, these Bib-Ons are a great option. Made of flexible silicone plastic, they can practically be twisted all the way around without breaking. The lenses are shatterproof, and they provide 100% protection from the sun’s damaging rays as well as polarization. The sunnies are designed for kids ages 2 to 4 and come in five colors options.
Helpful Review: “I really appreciate that these are pliable and bendy. They are holding up very well against a 2 1/2 year old. :) A bit big still but they stay on when he wears his bike helmet.”
Available Colors: 5
Unbreakable Sunglasses For Toddlers
Some Wrap-Around Sports Sunglasses For Active Toddlers
These sporty sunglasses are polarized with composite lenses and a composite frame. They are virtually unbreakable and perfect for toddlers who are starting out in sports. They offer 100% UVA and UVB protection. There are a range of colors to choose from, and they also come as a 2-pack for siblings or just to have an extra pair available.
Helpful Review: “My children are active and not easy on sunglasses. I have been really happy with the durability of these sunglasses. They are cute too”
Available Colors: 32
These Wayfarer-Inspired Shades
Want your kid to have Ray-Bans but don’t want to pay Ray-Ban prices? WeeFarers are a play on Ray-Bans WayFarers, but they cost a lot less and are way more adorable because they’re designed for tiny faces. These non-polarized glasses have a UV400 rating, a rubber frame, and polycarbonate lenses. They come in five color options.
Helpful Review: “They exceeded my expectations! The quality is amazing, fit perfectly, and they look like adult sunglasses! Must buy!!”
Available Colors: 5
These Affordable Sunglasses With A Lightweight Build
We love Bib-On’s sunglasses for kids, especially these vintage-style shades. These are non-polarized and offer total UV protection in shatterproof lenses, which have a matted finish to protect from fingerprints. The frames are extra bendable, making them virtually unbreakable. They come with a cloth carrying case, which, as we all know, kids will absolutely love. (Anything to carry their trinkets in, right?) You have seven color options.
Helpful Review: “Sun glasses my three year old will actually keep on his face!!! They work well because they are light weight and seem to be pretty comfortable. My son has had these for almost 6 months and hasn’t managed to break them yet, which is a miracle and a true testament to the quality.”
Available Colors: 7
Toddler Sunglasses With Straps
These Polarized Sunnies With A Head Strap & Ear Adjusters For The Perfect Fit
Made in Italy, assembled in San Diego, these high-quality toddler sunglasses are made of soft, bendable, ultra-durable, lightweight material designed specifically for little hands and faces. The lenses are polarized while still delivering 100% UVA, UVB, and UVC protection. Plus, these shades come with a head strap and an ear adjuster kit so you have a way better chance of getting them to stay on your tot’s head. They’re best for kids ages 2 to 4.
Helpful Review: “[...] THEY'RE SO WORTH THE MONEY!! They come with both a strap that connects both ear pieces, and little silicone ear buddies to help make the sunnies smaller for littles not quite fitting the glasses. They're SOO flexible! The ads you see of the lady folding them in half, twisting, pulling the arms out? YEP! REALLY DOES THAT! And the company's replacement policy in case your turdler tornado DOES manage to break them is incredible! We will for sure be buying again when my 2yo out grows these.”
Available Colors: 15
These Shatterproof Sunglasses That Come With 2 Straps & A Carrying Case
Designed to stay put on little faces, these sporty sunglasses are polarized with a UV400 rating, and they’re made of shatterproof polycarbonate material. They come with a matching protective carrying case and stretchy, adjustable, and comfortable neoprene straps with easy-on hooks and loop closures. Choose from two colors: pink and blue.
Helpful Review: “I didn’t know if I would find anything that would fit my twins but these are amazing. The glasses come with two adjustable straps and a case. Easy to switch the straps from the actual frame and easy to put on [...]”
Available Colors: 3
These Cool Two-Tone Sunglasses With A Convenient Head Strap
When your kiddo isn’t wearing these cool sunglasses, they can keep them on hand (or rather, on neck) by wearing them around their neck. The straps can also be adjusted to keep the glasses secure on your child’s head. The composite lenses are polarized and offer UV400 protection, and the frame is very flexible. These sunglasses are available in four colors.
Helpful Review: “Supercute. I purchased these for my one year old, they are the perfect size. She wears them with no problem. I like the strap so if she does take them off they can just hang around her neck.”
Available Colors: 4
Dr. Bradley Katz, professor of Ophthalmology and Neurology at University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics and founder and chief scientist of Axon Optics.
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