While there is a risk to viewing a solar eclipse with the unprotected eye, there are some wonderful, low-cost glasses and hand held viewers that provide full protection for the eyes. This allows everyone, including small children, to be able to see the eclipse with their parent’s supervision using some simple guidelines for eclipse safety.
Enjoy the Eclipse
While impressing on children, even small children, the importance of not looking at the sun without the glasses on, it is also important not to become over reactive about eclipse safety. With the solar eclipse glasses and children kept near to parents in the minutes leading up to and during the eclipse, it is easy to both enjoy these amazing and relatively rare events as well as help to stimulate your child’s natural curiosity about the world around them.
Have Glasses on Hand
There are two commercially available options for eclipse safety. One is the eclipse glasses, which are very similar to 3D glasses you may have used at the theater to see a movie. These are not expensive, under a dollar each, but in most cases they are sold in lots of 25 glasses and up.
You may want to talk to your neighbors, or even to your local school. They may be interested in buying glasses for the kids, or perhaps a family could donate a class set and keep a few for their smaller children who may not be in school in 2017.
The second option is a hand held viewer. For smaller children, this can be more challenging to manage, and it may be more likely for the kids to lower their hand and the viewer, especially during the time where the moon is blocking out the sun, which is a critical time for eclipse safety. The other time is when the moon is moving away from the sun.
For younger children, the glasses make it easy for eclipse safety as parents can quickly see if the glasses are in place throughout the eclipse. Remember, this is just seconds to minutes depending on where you are in the country.
It is a good idea to let kids have time to wear the glasses before the day of the eclipse. Mom and Dad can model eclipse safety and talk to children in non-threatening or frightening ways about how the bright light from the sun can be dangerous, but not if the glasses are kept in place.