The sunglasses – marketed as “BabyPyke” – are an unique development with respect to design and the choice of material. The frame and headband are manufactured in an injection molding process using soft and flexible Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) of the product group THERMOLAST® M. The material ensures maximum wearing comfort and a perfect fit to ensure thorough protection of sensitive children’s eyes against harmful UV radiation. The concept is similar to that of swimming goggles: The round bow, which extends around behind the head for better pressure distribution, is fastened to the short headband by means of two adjustable clips. The frame and the headband feature a silky surface with low friction, which prevents “tugging” on the skin and hair. Due to the lightweight design, the headband do not rub or exert pressure around the ears.
“BabyPyke resulted from the search for sunglasses for small children that fit tightly around the eyes to keep out UV radiation from above and from the sides. The eyes of babies and small children are especially at risk in this respect, since the eyelid closing reflex is not yet fully developed and the pupils are larger. In addition, the crystalline lens is still much more permeable than in older children,” explains Isabelle Van Steenkiste of Pyke S.A.
“To our surprise, however, there were no such sunglasses on the market, which is why we decided to develop them. Our ergonomic concept necessitates a flexible and absolutely hypoallergenic material with good design and application properties, which can also be processed economically – criteria that are completely fulfilled by the material from KRAIBURG TPE.”
The TPE used for the sunglasses is from the THERMOLAST® M product group and is used primarily in the medical and pharmaceutical sector, due to its high purity. It complies with the requirements of the EU Directive 10/2011 and the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21 (CFR21) of the US Food and Drug Administration for applications with food contact. As a hypoallergenic material it is also physiologically safe in case of skin contact – such as the mucous membrane of the mouth – which is an important requirement for small children, who often explore objects by putting them in their mouths. In addition, THERMOLAST® M gives the BabyPyke sunglasses the necessary durability to withstand typical environmental influences, such as heat (up to 80 °C), UV irradiation (discoloration), chlorinated swimming pool water and salty seawater, sunscreen lotions and skin oils. Best of all, the outstanding flexibility of the material means that the sunglasses can easily withstand the various pulling, twisting and bending to be expected of children, with no permanent deformation.
KRAIBURG TPE assisted its customer in the selection of the material, which has excellent flow properties so it can fill the long cavities of the injection mold in short cycle times. PYKE also required a TPE that could easily be colored in order to offer the sunglasses in eight different colors. After the frame is manufactured, the UV-resistant, unbreakable and shatterproof ZEISS lenses are mounted “captively” to prevent loss.
Production of the TPE elements and final assembly in accordance with EU standards take place at Pyke S.A. industry, in Belgium. BabyPyke sunglasses are suitable for small children up to the age of three with a head circumference of 41 to 50 cm. The manufacturer guarantees maximum UVA and UVB protection in accordance with filter category 3, as recommended throughout Europe for water surfaces, beaches and mountains.
This high protection is anything but luxury, especially in the case of children. Intensive UV radiation can cause eye problems and can have lasting effects on the eyesight. That applies not only in the summer, but also whenever the sun is low on the horizon – UV reflections from snow, water or asphalt can also damage the eyes. Even an overcast sky lets through more than 90 % of the UV radiation.
BabyPyke sunglasses of hypoallergenic, flexible THERMOLAST® M from KRAIBURG TPE are available since June 2016 in stores worldwide, as well as numerous online shops. The sunglasses are very successful on the market, since responsible parents are increasingly becoming aware of the need for quality and safety, especially when choosing products for babies and small children. The food-compliant properties of the material and the design of the frame with no phthalates, PVC, silicone or latex are in keeping with this trend.