Monday, February 17, 2014

I used to knock my kids off the monkey bars

I used to knock my kids off the monkey bars.
I would HOVER in fear so closely over my little dumplings that they couldn't move naturally to scale the playground toys. And often, I would knock them off and have to catch them. There comes a point where a thinking person decides that’s not the best strategy.  As parents, I’m sure we ALL have confessions of overprotective behavior. 

Today I was a tiny bit heartbroken when I was flipping through a magazine with a two page spread photo of a royal family on their yacht. Doesn’t sound very sad does it? There were the prince, and the princess, and the queen wearing their designer sunglasses shielding their eyes from the harsh glare of the water. One of their three little tikes had on a very expensive pair of sport sunglasses. The other two very tiny kids had nothing. They just squinted against the sun. Heartbreaking.

As a society we spend 1 BILLION1 dollars worldwide in our quest to prevent skin cancer. Every summer we vie for the safest and most protective sunscreen to slather on our kids. We cover the tips of their ears to the tips of their toes. And send them off without sunglasses. 

Why are we forgetting this essential protection for our kids and what are the effects of our oversight?
Here are the the soapbox stats:

Approximately 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18 years.2,3


Children under age 10 are considered to be more susceptible to eye damage because of the light color of the pediatric eye.  Sunglasses should be worn whenever the child may be in the sun long enough to get a sunburn or tan.  Sunglasses should be chosen to block 99% or more of the full UV spectrum as indicated on the label. Because there is no uniform labeling, parents should be wary of nonspecific labels such as “blocks harmful UV.” Even infants should wear sunglasses!

Most of this information is from 1999-2004. Research is never ending though. More recent research is showing tendencies toward a connection of UV exposure and macular degeneration as well as cataracts and skin cancer. Until they are proven wrong, why would you risk it?

Why are we forgetting to put sunglasses on our kids? Only you can answer that.  The next time you step outside and the sun reflecting off the snow, off the water or off the pavement makes your eyes water, think about how uncomfortable the tender eyes of your child are. Check with your local ABO Certified Opticians to find the best sun protection for your kids. Certified Opticians are educated about children’s eyewear needs and provide reliable quality sunwear protection for a reasonable price.

Find us at EyeStyles Optical or call for our Sunwear options for children.

3Stern RS
Weinstein MC
Baker SG
 (1986Risk reduction for nonmelanoma skin cancer with childhood sunscreen use.Arch Dermatol. 122:537545

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