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The importance of slathering children in factor 50 on sunny days is common knowledge, but encouraging them to pop on a pair of sunglasses is important as well, as little eyes also need protecting from UV damage.
“Just as it causes premature ageing in the skin, UV also causes premature ageing in the eyes," says Farah Topia, optometrist and clinical adviser for the Association of Optometrists.
"Children are more at risk since their pupil is bigger and the lens lets in 70% more UV compared with an adult.
"Children’s activities more generally can also make exposure higher – for example, being outdoors for longer and swimming on holiday, as light reflects off the water.
"In fact, the World Health Organization suggests that 80% of your lifetime UV exposure occurs between birth and 18. So it’s especially important for children to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from the short and long-term damage of UV light."
What should you look for when choosing sunglasses for children?
“Children should always wear British Standard, CE or UKCA marked sunglasses to ensure they are receiving adequate UV protection," says Topia. "Choosing a frame that sits closer to the eye and a wrap-around style is also preferable as they block out more light.
"There are also other things that parents can do to help protect their children’s eyes from UV – a wide-brimmed sun hat will add extra protection and also thinking about the eyelids too, when applying sunscreen.”
If you're looking for a new pair of sunnies for your child, we've rounded up 12 of the most stylish and standout pairs available to buy in 2022. Scroll down to shop our pick of the best aviator, wayfarer, retro and fun styles with prices from just £6.
Our top pick of children's sunnies for summer 2022
John Lewis & Partners Kids' Plain Wayfarer Sunglasses, Mid Green | £6 at John Lewis & Partners
You can't beat bright wayfarers for instant cool points. This acrylic pair from John Lewis are UKCA-marked and promise 100% UV protection. They are also available with navy, bright blue, pink and coral frames.
Grech & Co New Sustainable Sunglasses | £28 at Kidly
"We bloomin’ love these," gushes one customer in a review for these round retro tortoiseshell sunnies. "Not only does my five-year-old look like such a dude in these, but they have UV protection and are really robust too." The glasses are CE certified and earn brownie points for being made from recycled plastic and having wider lenses to offer extra eye protection.
Sunglasses - Pineapples | £13 at Boden
Kids who are all about "fun and sunshine" will love the Club Tropicana vibes of these fun frames fitted with lenses that promise total UV protection and conform to the British Standard. They're suitable for children with a head circumference up to 54cm (21 inches).
Izipizi Baby Red | £30 at Izipizi
Designed for babies aged under one year (head size 34cm - 41cm) these stylish sunnies comply with the international standards for sunglasses (ISO 12312-1) and promise 100% UV protection. The straight arms are designed to adapt to your baby’s growth and they also have a flexible silicone strap to help prevent them getting thrown out of the buggy.
M&S Collection Kids' Floral Sunglasses | £7 at Marks and Spencer
These fun floral frames have M&S' "Sun Smart' lenses, which promise 100% protection against UV rays. Available in two sizes: S/M for children up to the age of six, and size M/L for ages 6+. One parent comments in the reviews that "they fit really well and miraculously stay on my kids' faces".
M&S Collection Kids' Dinosaur Sunglasses | £7 at Marks and Spencer
Dino-loving kids will be tickled pink by these fun frames, which come in two sizes: S/M for children up to the age of six, and size M/L for ages 6+. They are fitted with "Sun Smart' lenses, which promise 100% protection against UV rays. One customer says they are good "value for money" as "they fit my son who is almost three perfectly and so far have lasted his frequent durability tests".
ASVP Kids Sunglasses | £4.99 at Amazon
Tiny faces framed in big aviators will have adults cooing over their cuteness, while fellow kids will be impressed by their coolness. This pair are CE-marked and promise 100% protection against harmful sun rays.
Suneez Polarized Kids Sunglasses | £25 at Amazon
Perfect for kids who like to push their belongings to their limits, these wayfarer style sunglasses have fully flexible frames, so won't snap when bent. Suneez lenses carry a CE mark and block out harmful UVA / UVB rays. They come with a handy strap and carry pouch (which doubles as a lens cleaner) to help prevent your child damaging or losing their sunglasses (though we're sure they'll still manage to on occasion).
Babiators Original Keyhole Sunglasses - Mint To Be | £24 at Natural Baby Shower
With a flexible rubber frame and shatter-resistant lenses that won’t break when bent, twisted, or stepped on, these are another pair suitable for kids who get through sunglasses in record timing. What's more, if your child loses or breaks these sunnies in the first year, Babiators will replace them for free (all you pay is shipping).
Babiators carry a CE mark and promise 100% UVA and UVB protection. "Perfect fit and stay on well," says one satisfied customer in a review. "Baby very happy wearing them so obviously very comfortable. And don’t get me started on the cuteness." Available in three sizes: Junior (0-2 years); Classic (3-5 years); and Kids (6+).
Sunglasses White Rainbow | £13 at Boden
Come rain or shine ensure your little one is always surrounded by rainbows with these bright round frames. The glasses conform to the British Standard and promise total UV protection. They are designed to fit a head circumference up to 54cm (21 inches).
Molo Rusty Sola Sunglasses | £20.30 (Was £29) at Alex and Alexa
Fans of retro style will be bowled over by this vintage-inspired pair, designed to stand out amid the crowd of wayfarers and round styles. These sunglasses have a lightweight, durable frame, carry a CE mark and promise 100% UV (400) protection.
Boots Kids Sunglasses - Blue and Red Frame | £10 at Boots
The vibrant contrasting colours of these wayfarer style sunglasses will look just as good on the beach as they do in the playground. The sunglasses conform to the British Standard and promise 100% UVA and UVB protection.