As the weather gets warmer, it is a perfect time to get outdoors and play. Playing outside is great for exploring the world, learning new things and staying active. Outdoor play is also good for vision development – research shows that playing outside in early childhood may reduce the risk of nearsightedness later in life.
Though there are many benefits to being outside, it’s important to remember that ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can hurt and even damage our eyes.
How to protect your baby’s eyes from UV light:
Just like we protect our skin from UV light using sunscreen, it’s important to protect our eyes as well.
1. Have your baby wear well-fitting sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
Hats and sunglasses help to shield your child’s eyes from the bright sun. Choose sunglasses that are made to block out 100% of UVA/UVB rays. Some infant and toddler sunglasses have an adjustable strap to help them stay on your child’s head. If your child already wears glasses, talk to their eye doctor about prescription sunglasses or tinted lenses.
2. Play in the shade.
Enjoy games and activities in the shade – especially if your child is under 6 months of age. You can set up an umbrella or use a large, thin blanket to make your own shade. Try to avoid the direct sunlight between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. when UV exposure risk is very high.
3. Watch out for sources of glare.
Did you know that when the sun reflects off water, windows, cars and pavement, it can cause eye damage, just like direct sunlight? Wearing sunglasses and a hat is also important to protect our eyes from glare and reflected light. When possible, have your baby sit so the source of glare is behind them.
4. Talk to your child about eye safety.
It’s important to take good care of our eyes to protect our vision. Remind your child not to touch or put anything in their eyes and to wash their hands before touching their face. It isn’t safe to look directly at the sun, even when they are wearing sunglasses.
For more information:
- Connect with a public health nurse via eChat or call 416-338-7600
- Has your child had an eye exam?
- Learn more about speech & language, hearing and vision