9 best kids’ sunglasses that protect little eyes from harmful rays

Rosie Shephard
·7-min read
Check they cover both UVA and UVB rays before buying (The Independent/ iStock)
Check they cover both UVA and UVB rays before buying (The Independent/ iStock)

Summer is here and everyone wants, more now than ever, to get outside in the sunshine. As you scramble out the door with sun cream and hats, remember that everyone needs to wear sunglasses too, especially your little ones.

Dan McGhee, director of professional services at Vision Express says: “Sunglasses should be worn on babies from as little as six months old, even when it is cloudy. Children’s eyes have clearer lenses which can allow more UV light to reach the eye and penetrate deeper into the retina.

"By the time they reach the age of 18, the internal eye will have absorbed 50 per cent of all the ultraviolet light they will ever absorb in their lifetime. Since damage from UV is cumulative, exposure gained as a child can build up and lead to further problems in the future”.

It can be difficult to keep sunglasses on little faces, because little noses aren’t fully formed yet and don’t have bridges which help glasses stick. Talk to kids about the importance of protecting their eyes and set a good example by always wearing your own sunglasses outside.

When buying children’s sunglasses, McGhee says: “Choose a pair of glasses that block 100 per cent of both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure they cover a good portion of the eyes and look for durable features such as flexible hinges. It always helps to give the little ones the option to choose their own glasses too – they are far more likely to wear them if they have been involved in the choosing!”

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

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Kids UV polarized sunglasses

Discerning kiddies will love these stylish shades. They are very sturdy and stay on children’s faces from three years old. They look very sophisticated and work with any outfit. Our little boy tester loved them and said they are light to wear and super comfortable.

They are a good price for good quality. We loved that they provide 100 per cent UV protection and the lenses offer high sun glare reduction.

Buy now £20.00, Polarn O. Pyret

Beau Loves peppermint green keyhole round sunglasses

These retro sunnies are so adorable. They are cool, unisex, geek-chic, guaranteed to turn heads (in a good way). These sunglasses are very good quality and flexible. They were a snug fit for even our smaller testers, so will be sure to survive the toddler face rodeo.

They look incredibly stylish and expensive. They are the perfect accessory for any occasion for the youngest fashionistas. Our little testers adored the round shape which fits and suits most faces.

These sunglasses aren’t cheap but you get a fabulous, quality pair of designer sunglasses for your money. They come with a cool, flexible case as well.

Buy now £52.50, Alex and Alexa

Reima black bayou sunglasses

These sunglasses will look stylish from the ski slopes to the beach. They are suitable for ages three and above and have a flexible rubber frame to survive anything. The polarized mirrored lenses give optimum visibility by blocking reflections.

They are impossible to break – very flexible and a perfect fit because they hug your kids’ head with their flexible arms.

They look sporty so they are not too smart, but amazing for active holidays. Our little tester loved them as they stayed on and he said he didn’t even feel like he was wearing them.

This pair is on the more expensive side, but they are great and if you look after them you can get a lot of use out of them.

Buy now £30.00, Alex and Alexa

Babiators original navigator sunglasses

These are cute, lightweight and designed not to pinch little noses or faces. Babiators claim to be virtually indestructible. Impact and shatter resistant, you can bend and twist them and they will be fine. We put them to the test on a boisterous toddler. They fit perfectly and he loved putting them on top of his head because that’s where mummy’s sunglasses usually are – especially when she is looking for them.

They stayed on his face for a record amount of time, and have survived several toy car crashes and a puppy’s jaws. These sunglasses are here to stay.

Another thing we love is that once you register your sunglasses with Babiators, if you break them (unlikely) or lose them (highly likely) within a year of purchase, they will replace them.

Buy now £22.50, Babiators

Hatley fancy flamingos sunglasses

These glasses are perfect for summer days in the sun. They are lightweight and oh-so cute. We also love the price!

They are very durable and a good tight fit for the smaller kids and also lightweight. They look very cute with the pink flamingos. Our little girl tester adored them, and wore them all the time in the paddling pool and in the garden.

They are very good value. We were surprised how cheap they were for the quality.

Buy now £7.00, Hatley

Funky orange polarized sunglasses

These bright, unisex glasses look very cool and funky and feel sturdy. They are not easy to break, material is flexible and durable. They stayed on our four year old tester but might be a bit loose on faces under three years old.

Both our boy and girl testers loved them as the design is unisex. They also loved the magnetic case they came in. They are very good value and it’s not a heartache if they get lost as they can be easily replaced.

Buy now £8.40, Blade & Rose

Stella McCartney Kids black rectangle frame sunglasses

These glasses are uber cool. They suit girls and boys, and the branding on the arms adds a designer touch.

The frame is very sturdy, but they are not designed for sporting activities. They stay on older children’s faces, but the rectangular design doesn’t follow the head's shape as much as some of the cheaper brands.

They look super fancy and stylish, as you would expect from Stella McCartney. Our tester absolutely loved them as they are unisex if you don’t have a typical girly girl. Our girl tester wore them with pride as her very first designer accessory.

Designer brands come with a price tag, but you get what you expect. They are a real treat for your little one.

Buy now £75.00, Alex and Alexa

DC Comics Kids wonder woman children's sunglasses

Kids will feel like Wonder Woman in these sassy violet shades with the Wonder Woman logo on the side. They are also prescription compatible and won’t interfere with little superheroes’ x-ray vision.

They are flexible to an extent, but they need looking after as the frame is quite thin. We love that they can be adjusted with heat in the store for a better fit for your child's unique head shape.

They look very pretty and the purple colour is more versatile than you would expect. Our little girl tester really loved that they can be used with prescribed lenses which is brilliant.

They are good value and vision express has deals time to time for prescribed lenses which helps.

Buy now £20.00, Vision Express

Unofficial Kids UNSK0007P childrens' aviators

Our little boy tester loved these aviators as they look like his dad's grown up sunglasses They are great quality, but a bit fragile for toddlers. They are suitable and a good fit for older children aged five or above who can look after them a bit more.

They are very reasonably priced and you can put prescribed lenses in them which is brilliant. We love the Vision Express website as it gives all the measurements of glasses in a no nonsense way and also allows you to try on some pairs virtually, using a face detecting video which is great fun and ideal when you can’t go in store.

Buy now £7.50, Vision Express

The verdict: Kids' sunglasses

When choosing sunglasses for little ones, we suggest prioritising protection and sturdiness rather than style and price. Our Best Buy from Polarn O. Pyret ticks all these boxes. You know your child and if they are careful and will look after a more expensive pair that they love, go for it. There are some excellent pairs available for great prices which won’t break the bank or your heart if they get lost or trodden on.

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