Yes! According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, infants six months and older should begin wearing sunglasses when in direct sun. Before that, babies should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
The goal of wearing sunglasses is to decrease the amount of UVR, ultraviolet rays, reaching the eyes. Ultraviolet rays are responsible for the great majority of skin cancers as well as eye problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. The risk of skin cancer and sun-related eye problems rises over time as exposure increases, so it is important to start protection as early as possible.
Wearing sunglasses protects not only the eyes but the delicate skin around the eyes. Look for sunglasses that indicate 100 percent UVA/UVB protection on the frame. If it does not say it, don’t buy it! If your child wears prescription glasses indoors, they should have that prescription recreated into a pair of sunglasses. Getting your child to wear sunglasses takes practice so if they resist, keep trying knowing that you are reducing their risk of cancer and blindness.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, March 2020