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

Celebrate the sun with these stunning and safe accessories

Rebecca Moore
Friday 31 March 2023 12:15 BST
<p>Fortunately for young fashionistas, these sunnies are as stylish as they are functional </p>

Fortunately for young fashionistas, these sunnies are as stylish as they are functional

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A pair of new sunglasses is often a sure-fire sign sunnier weather is on the way, whether you’re packing up for a holiday or giving the morning walk to school a summer update, for both you and your offspring. But it’s not just about accessorising, as much as adults need to consider their eyewear, children do too.

We all want to encourage children to spend more time outdoors, but, akin to the importance of sun cream, eye safety is serious business. And sunglasses are here to help, with lenses offering protection against UV rays. Giles Edmonds, Specsavers’ clinical services director, explains that sunglasses aren’t exclusively for blaring sunshine. “Even on cloudy days, our children’s eyes can be exposed to UV radiation,” he explains.

Without getting deeply technical, sunglasses protection levels vary, so are divided into four filter categories. Category three lenses provide UV protection of up to the 400-nanometre wavelength, the high end of the UV spectrum, only being topped by category four, which is advised for skiing activities, as it lets in less than 8 per cent of UV light. But when purchasing a pair of everyday sunglasses for your child, it’s important to look out for category three or UV400 markings.

“For the best protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, a relatively large yet close-fitting frame is the best design for children’s sunglasses,” suggests Edmonds. “Make sure they cover a good portion of the eyes and look for durable features such as flexible hinges.”

Fortunately for young fashionistas, style doesn’t have to be compromised. There’s a whole range of shades that’ll go beyond protecting young peepers, they’ll become a sizzling summer accessory, too.

How we tested

Heading out to chase the sun, were our four-, six- and 13-year-old testers, armed with a selection of sunglasses. All of the sunglasses we tested comply with UV400 protection, so we knew that safety was adhered to, but there was still plenty to scrutinise.

A main factor for kids has to be comfort – it can be difficult to keep sunglasses on little faces because children’s noses aren’t fully formed yet and don’t have bridges. The bridge length only becomes fully mature in males at 15 years and fully mature in females at 12 years.

We took a close look at the shape of the sunglasses and how flexible the frames were, to suit different face sizes. Lenses were considered too, while ordinary lenses darken the view, polarising ones block irritating glares, so this feature scored highly. The sunglasses had to appeal to the kids wearing them, so style was a big one, but practicality wasn’t overlooked – kids are heavy-handed and we wanted the sunglasses to be robust and up for the challenge.

The best kids’ sunglasses for 2023 are:

  • Best overall kids’ sunglasses – Roald Dahl Fantastic Mr Fox RD 014 (C1) children’s sunglasses: £20,
  • Best value for money kids’ sunglasses – Kidly Label classic sustainable sunglasses: £11.50,
  • Best kids’ sunglasses for durability – Babiators original keyhole sunglasses: £25,
  • Best robust kids’ sunglasses – Suneez bossa sunglasses: £25,
  • Best designer kids’ sunglasses – Ray-Ban juniors RJ 9547S (223/71) children's sunglasses: £77,

Roald Dahl Fantastic Mr. Fox RD 014 (C1) children’s sunglasses

Roald Dahl fantastic Mr. Fox RD 014 (C1) children’s sunglasses.png
  • Best: Overall
  • Frame material: Acetate
  • For ages: Unspecified
  • Colour options: Grey lenses and tortoise-shell frame
  • Polarised lenses: No

For those who think illustrated apparel can be on the gimmicky side, these Roald Dahl Fantastic Mr Fox sunglasses will convert you. So much so, our teenage tester even gave them the thumbs up, but it was our book-loving six-year-old that gave these a thorough testing.

Boasting stylish, brown tortoise shell, rounded frames, the arms fashionably showcase Fantastic Mr Fox illustrations, making them playful and pretty. Eye protection is also well covered, with category three defence and grey lenses, so objects are seen in their natural colour and not enhanced. We like that the hinges are flexible to withstand heavy hands, and they come with a super protective case and cleaning cloth. To top it all off, the frames are even made from acetate rather than plastic, meaning they’re lighter on the planet and should last longer, too.

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Decathlon kids’ hiking sunglasses

Decathlon kids’ hiking sunglasses (10 years plus).png
  • Best: For outdoor pursuits
  • Frame material: Polyamide
  • For ages: 10+
  • Colour options: Four available
  • Polarised lenses: No

Developed by Decathlon’s engineers, these affordable sunglasses mean business. The “industrial” look put off our fussy teenager, but heading on a coastal stomp she agreed they were the sensible choice. A comfortable fit, the anti-UV lenses block 100 per cent of harmful rays, protecting young eyes, while the category three specification avoids glare, which our tester found particularly useful when exercising in direct sunshine. The sunglasses certainly feel robust, and while they might not be to our teenager’s liking, we like the contrasting arms, and there are four colours to choose from.

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Ray-Ban juniors RJ 9547S (223/71) children's sunglasses

RayBan kids sunglasses.png
  • Best: Designer glasses
  • Frame material: Metal
  • For ages: Unspecified
  • Colour options: Green lenses with gold frames
  • Polarised lenses: No

This brand is synonymous with sunglasses, and if any pair was going to excite our finicky 13-year-old, it was these. And we can’t blame her – luxury eyewear giant Ray-Ban produces the creme de la creme of sunglasses and the same goes for its junior eyewear.

Designed in a modern classic panto shape with shiny gold frame, these are a cool-looking pair of sunnies. Practicality has been considered too, offering 100 per cent UV category three protection, they also come with a neon orange drawstring case to keep them safe. The lenses don’t offer as much coverage as the others we tested, and we did find that the arms could be a little delicate for the heavy hands of kids, however, our tester didn’t let them out of her sight, treating them with the ultimate care.

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Polarn O. Pyret kids’ UV polarised sunglasses

Polarn O. Pyret kids UV polarized sunglasses.png
  • Best: Unisex sunglasses
  • Frame material: Plastic
  • For ages: 2-6 years
  • Colour options: Black
  • Polarised lenses: Yes

Swedish childrenswear brand Polarn O. Pyret has been keeping kids looking cool since 1976, and now it’s time to complete the look with these lightweight sunglasses, designed for two- to six-year-olds.

With UV400 protection keeping harmful rays at bay, our six-year-old tester enjoyed glare-free vision, thanks to the polarised lenses, which meet filter category three requirements. There were no complaints on the comfort front, and they feel durable enough to take on daily adventures. Our tester took great pride in looking after these, which is a testament to the product, keeping them clean and safe in the included drawstring bag. The understated unisex design, with the simple Polarn O. Pyret logo on the arms, means they’ll never tire either.

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Izipizi kids +

Izipizi kids.png
  • Best: For younger kids
  • Frame material: Silicon
  • For ages: 3-5 years
  • Colour options: Seven available
  • Polarised lenses: Yes

Dealing exclusively in eyewear, Parisian brand Izipizi knows a thing or two about producing superior shades. Designed for fashionistas aged three to five years, the minty fresh colourway looked undeniably stylish on our four-year-old tester.

Falling under the filter category three, the polarised grey lenses offer UV400 protection. These sturdy sunglasses felt up to the challenge of being handled by children, yet had enough flex to be comfy. They come with a removable silicon strip, which our tester didn’t require, but would be potentially useful for the younger age bracket. The shades also come with a handy storage pouch, to keep them safe.

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Kidly Label classic sustainable sunglasses

Kidly Label classic sustainable sunglasses (3 years plus).png
  • Best: Value for money
  • Frame material: 100 per cent recycled polycarbonate
  • For ages: 3+ years
  • Colour options: Three available
  • Polarised lenses: Yes

Kidly’s own label has kids’ summer essentials covered. From swim hats to sandals, common factors are great quality at a great price point. And we’re delighted the brand has extended the range to include kids’ sunglasses.

Usually just £14 but currently reduced to £11.50, these wayfarer-style sunglasses tick all the boxes. Category three UV400 protection? Tick. Superior triacetate cellulose (TAC) polarised lenses? Tick. Recycled polycarbonate frame? Tick. While they don’t feel as robust as some competitors, our adventurous six-year-old has caused them no damage thus far, and the drawstring cotton pouch is perfect for when they’re not in use.

  1. £11 from
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Monsoon printed dino sunglasses with case, blue

Monsoon boys printed dino sunglasses with case, blue.png
  • Best: For a fun print
  • Frame material: 100 per cent polycarbonate
  • For ages: Unspecified
  • Colour options: Multicolour dino print
  • Polarised lenses: No

While our dinosaur obsessed four-year-old was instantly drawn to these sunglasses, they were actually too big for her, with our six-year-old stepping in for testing purposes. The dinosaur pattern ensure these sunnies stand out from the crowd, while the category three UV400 protection keeps eyes safe. While these feel sturdy, there’s not a huge amount of flex in them, which could mean they break. However, the included case will help them last for longer.

  1. £13 from
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Suneez bossa sunglasses

  • Best: For robustness
  • Frame material: Flexible material
  • For ages: 3-8 years
  • Colour options: Six available
  • Polarised lenses: Yes

Getting through replacement sunglasses like no tomorrow? We hear you. However, Suneez might just be the answer. Designed with fully flexible frames – honestly, the bend is quite impressive – these sunglasses were made with heavy-handed little ones in mind. They won’t snap when bent, the lenses won’t fall out when dropped and if they get squashed in a school bag, they’ll come out unscathed – as our four-year-old can attest.

Robustness is equally matched with protection, with all the same sun-blocking properties of a pair of quality adult sunglasses, Suneez offers 100 per cent protection against UVA/UVB rays, including UV400, while the polarised lenses also reduce glare. This pair comes with a microfibre carry pouch and a handy silicone strap, which is useful for younger ones whose sunglasses constantly fall off their face. Available in six colourways, the contrasting arm colour and wayfarer shape give them child appeal and we can certainly see them withstanding years of use, as they’ve been designed with a long shelf life in mind. They felt comfortable for both our four- and six-year-old, and are recommended for those aged three to eight.

  1. £25 from
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Babiators original keyhole sunglasses, jet black

Babiators original keyhole sunglasses (three to five), jet black.png
  • Best: For durability
  • Frame material: Flexible rubber
  • For ages: Junior (0-2 years), classic (3-5 years)
  • Colour options: Jet black
  • Polarised lenses: No

Babiators has taken the children’s sunglasses market by storm, and for good reason. You know a brand has to be pretty confident in its product when they guarantee that if you lose or break them within the first year, they will replace them for free. But, after testing out the Babiators original keyhole sunglasses, we’d be pretty stunned if you broke them.

The flexible rubber frame, with impact and shatter-resistant lenses, meant our four-year-old tester could bend, twist, and sit on them without causing harm, which is impressive, given the lightweight nature of these sunnies. Protection is well covered too, with UV400 lenses that offer 100 per cent UVA and UVB protection. We also can’t deny how utterly gorgeous they look on our mini tester. They also offer a secure and comfy fit with no pinching points. Coming in an array of colours, there’s a pair to suit every youngster and you’ll get a free drawstring bag to keep them clean and tidy.

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JoJo Maman Bébé flexible sunglasses with straps

JoJo Maman Bebe flexible sunglasses with straps.png
  • Best: For a secure fit
  • Frame material: 100 per cent TPEE
  • For ages: 0-2 years or 3-6 years
  • Colour options: Four available
  • Polarised lenses: No

Available in four colours (yellow, duck egg, navy and fuschia), these sunglasses have a stretchy detachable strap that can be adjusted for the snuggest of fits. Comfortable and secure, there’s plenty of flex in the arms for durability, and they are closely positioned to the eyes, for safety. Protecting against UVA and UVB rays, these shades are filter category three, which offers UV400 protection. They come in two sizes, zero to two years and three to six years, and while they might not be the most stylish, they’re super practical and affordable too.

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Liewood Darla sunglasses

Liewood Darla.png
  • Best: For style
  • Frame material: Recycled polycarbonate
  • For ages: 0-3 years and 4-10 years
  • Colour options: 10 available
  • Polarised lenses: Yes

New to Nordic kids’ brand Liewood for 2023 is its sunglasses collection, and we’re thrilled. If you’ve ever purchased anything from the chic label, be it wearables or something for the home, you’ll be aware of its understated style. The Darwood sunglasses are no exception, (as are the almost 40 other pairs in the debut collection) with all testers appreciating the round style and subtle tortoise-shell pattern. In true Liewood style, it’s kept these sunnies classy, with a subtle, silver logo on the side of the temple, yet not overlooked practicality with the springy hinges.

Style certainly meets substance with category three protection for precious eyes, and forward-thinking triacetate cellulose (TAC) polarised lenses, which are not only lightweight and scratch resistant, but have superior visuals. Naturally, the brand’s sustainable ethos hasn’t been discounted, boasting materials made from recycled polycarbonate. We found the four to 10 years option was a comfortable fit for all three of our testers – it’s just a shame there’s not an adult version.

  1. £27 from
Prices may vary
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The verdict: Kids’ sunglasses

For price point, a comfortable fit with flexible hinges, design, and, of course, the ability to keep young eyes protected, the Roald Dahl Fantastic Mr Fox sunglasses deliver on all fronts. For younger children, we absolutely love the Babiators original keyhole sunglasses.

While they’re having fun in the sun, make sure your child’s sensitive skin is protected with the best kids’ sunscreens

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