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I was looking for kids sunglasses to buy for my 1-year-old. The only thing I knew is that they really had to be 100% UV protection. I was also wondering how to make them stay on the kid's face (this one is quite curious and spirited).

I came into these sunglasses for kids with adjustable straps on the Internet and started to read several reviews. I realized that there are a lot of thing I didn't imagine I could/should watch out for, like the material for the straps (neoprene?) or finding glasses which won't scratch the kid's face if the kid energetically pulls them off or that would break easily.

Without going overboard, which are the main things I should watch out when buying sunglasses for a 1-year-old?

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The main concerns with 1 year old sunglasses:

  • Durability. Plastic lenses, preferably no stiff joints that are easy to break/tear.
  • No small pieces if possible. The main small pieces in sunglasses are the screws in the joints and the nose piece. Try to get ones with no possibly removed pieces in either - if you get ones that don't have a stiff joint at the eye->ear piece, that is best as those usually have screws otherwise.
  • Cheap. Even if they're durable, they'll probably be useless in a month from scratches, or lost, or broken. I'd pick a less durable but cheap pair over a more durable but much more expensive pair, within limits, because even durable glasses get scratched or lost.
  • And as you noted in the question, UV protection is the main reason to get them.
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I would like to add some things to Joe's answer, which I think covers most of the safety and cost concerns.

However, picking out sunglasses for my son was much more about his comfort with them. If he doesn't like how they feel on his face, then he will take them off (whilst complaining about the brightness)! You can meet all the other qualifications, but it won't matter if your child won't wear them.

I think we end up getting him sunglasses slightly larger than his size, in order for them to be comfortable. If the bows are too short (or the elastic too tight), then the nosepieces and rims push into his face and cause him discomfort. Also, if the bows/sides rub his temples as they're put on, that initial discomfort will cause him to resist wearing them at all. Slightly overlarge sunglasses are easy to slide onto his oft moving head without risking abrasion.

I would add that we had no success with adjustable-band sunglasses. The pressure of the strap is too uncomfortable for him. The only thing he'll wear on his face with a band is his Batman mask.


Proper wide-brimmed hats may be a good solution if you can't find suitable sunglasses, but should also be used in conjunction with them. Personally, my son is much less averse to wearing hats compared to shades. Now that he's older, he'll usually wear his sunglasses without complaint. I can't imagine that his cancer risk or eye health, from only wearing hats/sunscreen for the first two years of his life is affected in any way that I would care about.

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    Hats for sure. That's what we used, actually - sunglasses were closer to toys, despite efforts by grandma and mommy to the contrary. I thought about mentioning them but wasn't sure it was appropriate - I like how you put it. – Joe Apr 24 '15 at 19:59
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    I think hats are easier to shop for, too! I wasn't sure how to add hats into my answer, either. The question isn't about hats at all (and the OP might use them already), but I couldn't help but answer the spirit of the question: How do I best protect my baby's eyes from the sun? – user11394 Apr 24 '15 at 20:05
  • I agree. Hats could be an out-of-the-box solution for this problem. Thank you for your contribution too. – Diego Apr 25 '15 at 1:29

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