Getting outside the house with your baby on those bright sunshiney cold days are a great way to beat the winter blues. But whilst many of us instinctively pop on our own sunglasses, we sometimes forget that at this time of year little eyes need protection against sunlight and the rest of the environment too. Here are 4 quick-fire reasons why you should think about adding a pair of sunnies to your baby's winter sun care kit:
- The sun's UV rays can damage the upper layers of babies' eyes which are not yet fully mature. Their eyes also lack the pigment that filters out UV meaning that UV rays can reach deeper down to the retina more easily than in an adult, and cause damage there. Like with their skin, UV damage to their eyes often isn't immediately apparent but is accumulated in small bits over time and can be the reason for long-term eye problems in later life.
- UV rays don't just come directly from the sun but are bounced around all the surfaces around us, such as pavements or grass and even buildings and trees. This means that UV can enter curious little eyes wherever they happen to be looking. In snowy places, you'll have to be even more vigilant about this, as around 80% of the sun’s rays are reflected off snow, which is far more than grass, sand and even water.
- The sun in the winter hangs at a lower angle in the sky and can easily enter the pram and shine straight into their eyes. Often babies are in a lying down or diagonal position, meaning they "catch" more UV and direct sunlight exposure than you would do standing next to them. In this position, a sun hat's brim might not cast a good enough shadow over the eyes like it would do with an overhead sun in the summer months.
- Ever had that feeling of dry, irritated eyes in the winter? Tears help keep our eyes lubricated and are made from a mixture of water, fatty oils, and mucous that provide a sheild against the surrounding environment. These protective tears evaporate easily in cold drying winter air or wind and it's no different for babies - although, of course, they can't tell us what's wrong. Putting a pair of sunglasses on your baby can help reduce evaporation and alleviate some of their discomfort.
Getting your baby used to wearing sunglasses early on will protect them right from the get-go and can have a significant positive impact on the health of their eyes later on down the line.
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