Fort Worth, TX,
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Cook Children’s Experts Share What Parents Should Know about the Total Solar Eclipse in Texas

How to educate your family about ‘The Great American Eclipse.’

Children and parents across the country are getting excited for the total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, which will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. It will be visible in 15 parts of the United States. With high chances of clear skies, Texas is expected to experience a rare totality. Some schools are even canceling classes for the day.

In Texas, the partial eclipse will begin at 12:23 p.m. and end at 3:02 p.m. Totality will begin at 1:40 p.m. and last a total of four minutes, ending at 1:44 p.m. According to NASA, people should never gaze directly at the sun during a solar eclipse, even when it is partly or mostly covered by the moon.

We asked Cook Children’s experts how to best prepare for this historic event. Osaretin Aimuyo M.D., pediatrician at Cook Children’s Pediatrics Arlington and Michael G. Hunt M.D., Research and Education Director of Ophthalmology at Cook Children’s, advise parents on how to protect their family and their eyes. eclipse kids

"A total solar eclipse can be very exciting because it doesn't happen often and is a great opportunity to get kids excited about natural phenomena,” says Aimuyo. “It is possible to look directly at the eclipse, but it must be done with proper eye protection to prevent blindness or permanent ‘stamps’ of the sun on the eye. There are glasses with specialized filters designed specifically for viewing an eclipse. The American Astronomical Society publishes a list of vendors who sell ISO-certified eclipse glasses.”

Wearing solar eclipse glasses

Hunt explains that solar eclipse glasses are worn the same way you wear regular sunglasses. They can be worn directly over your regular glasses or contact lenses. However, Hunt emphasizes that you should not put them on or take them off while you are looking at the sun. “The simple order for using solar eclipse glasses is this: look away, put them on, watch the eclipse, look away, take them off.”

Hunt shares the safest way to use a pair of solar eclipse glasses:

  1. Prepare your glasses by folding them into the correct configuration if needed.
  2. While holding the glasses, stand with your body toward the sun, but look down.
  3. Still looking down, put the eclipse glasses on.
  4. Raise your head and look up at the sun - enjoy the eclipse.
  5. Don’t remove your solar eclipse glasses if you are still watching the eclipse.

When can solar eclipse glasses be removed?

  1. There is one situation where the glasses can be removed: during the totality phase of a total solar eclipse. This is when the moon has completely blocked out the sun and the sky is dark.
    1. With young children, it could be hard to have them remove and replace the glasses at just the right time. It is best to have them keep the glasses on the entire time they look toward the sun.
    2. With infants, it is safest for them to remain inside during the eclipse. If they are small enough to fit in a car seat or stroller with a canopy, you can safely have them outside. Be sure the canopy is drawn so they do not get direct sunlight to their eyes. 
  2. Be prepared to put your solar eclipse glasses back on before totality ends and the partial phase reappears.
  3. To remove the glasses, look away from the sun and remove the glasses.

Learn more about the "Great American Eclipse" by visiting the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History's site. View a schedule of events at the museum and explore solar eclipses on the site.