MamaMagic was such an awesome event. I was there to speak about #CarseatFullstop and keeping little humans safe in cars, but I spent a few hours every day seeking out special brands that I had either worked with in the past year or that I would like to share with all of you! One of the coolest brands I came across was Real Kids Shades (who was a MamaMagic finalist in the Safety category) the “mostly” indestructible sunglasses for kids.
I wasn’t actively looking for them but when I saw Zulé bending a pair of the glasses completely backwards, I stopped in my tracks.
Some of you will know that Charly loves sunglasses, because her daddy is never without his and partly because granny wears glasses. Just a few examples…
While Zulé was talking to the mom and bending the sunglasses I overheard snippets of the story of Real Kids Shades and had a few flashbacks. The UV light from the sun is bad for your eyes, most of us have a very vague long distance memory of that from our high school science class. Proper sunglasses have a special UV coating applied to the lenses, to protect the eyes from all dangerous sunlight, which in turn protects those eyes from issues later in life. Simple enough, right?
I have personally always thought of sunglasses as fashion items. Since meeting these ladies and doing some reading, I have learnt that they are actually a necessity for everybody. You can get Real Kids Shades for your little one from as young as 6 months old, so that they get used to it as part of their everyday outdoor outfit. This infographic explains it all really well.
But wait, because then I heard Zulé and her partner Tanya, owners of O-V Optics, share that those adorable toy sunglasses my little one was always prancing around in? They actually cause damage to your child’s eyes!!! Seriously.
Fake sunglasses just have tinted lenses with no UV coating. The lenses create a dark environment, which causes the pupil to dilate. The bigger pupil allows more damaging UV light to flood the eye, causing irreparable damage that may lead to macular degeneration, cataracts, pterygium and more vision disabling conditions. All of these are wholly preventable by using adequate UV coating on lenses. No sunglasses are better than bad sunglasses, because at least your pupil can constrict in an attempt to protect the structure of the eye with no false sense of security fooling you.
I am absolutely paraphrasing the rockstar ladies from O-V Optics. There are some medical terms here, and Tanya is a qualified optometrist with lots of experience, so I’m not going to change the wording too much.
OK, once you are done frantically grabbing the fake sunglasses from your kids faces, there is a solution. Real Kids Shades have 100% UVA and UVB protective shatterproof polycarbonate lenses, which means they are completely safe from the damage of the sun. The frames are made from a rubber-like material that makes them awesomely bendy and twisty and comfy for kids. AND with bendy frames and shatterproof lenses, they are “virtually” unbreakable… because, toddlers can always find a way if they are determined. You can also get your little one’s corrective lenses fitted in the special RKS frames.
Zulé and Tanya are as passionate about educating people on the importance in sunglasses use and protecting children’s eyes from damage as I am about car seat usage. So much so that they created an initiative called Sunglasses at School, or S@S.
S@S is a Non-Profit Health and Fundraising Initiative that promotes education and awareness of the effects that UV exposure has on the eyes of children.They provide educational material, informative talks and regular screenings to member schools. They source Real Kids Shades and sell to member schools for optional inclusion in their sports kit and uniform packs. For every pair a school buys, a second pair is donated to an identified child in need of extra protection in rural or disadvantaged areas or in financial need.
“Children are exceptionally at risk of UV damage to eyes,” says Zulé. “80% of your lifetime UV exposure happens before age 18. It is this exposure that causes discomfort and irritation to children, and a wide variety of ailments that may impair vision in mid- and later-life.” These very special ladies are trying to make UVA and UVB protective eyewear a cultural norm and make a difference along the way supporting rural South African kids .
You can’t really avoid the fact that they are freaking adorable too! There are 6 different styles in 4 different sizes. The O-V Optics team gave Charly a pair of Aqua and Pink Breeze sunglasses (in size 3 – 8 years) and she LOVES them. The timing was perfect because since returning her rearward-facing, the one issue we have had is the early morning Summer sun shining in her eyes. Now she wears her Real Kids Shades like a boss 🙂
CONGRATS TO ALEYSHA BODASING
Sending you alllll the love xxx