THE GOODS : TECHNOWATCH : Shades for the Crib Crowd

Babies in shades? That's right.

"Kids need sunglasses, especially infants and young children, because their eyes have not developed enough to protect them from ultraviolet rays," says Dr. Stuart Dankner, a Baltimore ophthalmologist and chairman of public information for the American Assn. for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. UV rays can penetrate the retina and possibly damage the macula lutea, the area that is responsible for the most acute central vision, Dankner says. In addition, recent research is beginning to show that ultraviolet rays may cause cataracts in the long term if people don't get proper protection when they're young. Parents should choose sunglasses that are labeled 100% UV protection, he says.

Baby Optics in St. George, Utah, has recently introduced its Weebok children's sunglasses line, under license from Reebok International. There are four sizes: newborn, baby, tots and kids, in a variety of colors and styles. All are constructed with almost unbreakable polycarbonate gradient lenses. Each pair comes with a one-year guarantee. The glasses offer 100% UV protection and are the best children's sunglasses he has seen, says Dankner, who is recommending them in his clinic.

Weeboks retail for $15 to $25 and are carried nationwide by selected baby shops and eye-care specialists. They're also available through Right Start (800) 548-8531 or Sensational Beginnings (800) 444-2147 catalogues. Or call (800) 962-6872 for an outlet in your area.

E/T Bike Gets Around:

Bicyclists interested in roughing it on wheels should check out the E/T Bike introduced by Big Bear Lake's Dan Hanebrink, a longtime mountain-bike builder who holds the California downhill racing title for his age group. Hanebrink's new E/T (Extreme Terrain) bicycle is designed to be ridden over sand or snow.

Hanebrink, 54, says the E/T can handle any type of terrain--ice, snow, sandy washes or rocky stream beds that would stop a standard mountain bike.

The E/T Bike has big tires, the same concept as an all-terrain vehicle, and fits riders from 5 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 4 inches. The finished bike weighs 40 pounds. The E/T 1500 (complete bike with a rigid fork) costs $2,940; E/T 2000 (with a suspension fork), $3,100. Contact Hanebrink Bicycles, P.O. Box 1562, Big Bear Lake, Calif. 92315; (909) 866-2224.

Spray and Don't Wipe:

Spray a little of the new Clean & Feed on house plants and watch the dust on the leaves disappear. You don't even have to wipe them.

What you can't see is the plant absorbing the spray's fertilizer through its leaves. But if you spray on the formula lightly once a week, you'll observe positive results--a greener, fuller plant--in a month to six weeks.

Clean & Feed, oil-free so it doesn't clog the pores of the leaves, is 100% organic and biodegradable. It was developed by Botanical Science, a manufacturer of plant-care products in Santa Ana. "Through leaf absorption, the fertilizer is absorbed in one to two hours," says Botanical Science President Marcel Ford. "Fertilizing in the dirt can take days to get it from the roots to the leaves."

Clean & Feed is available in a 16-ounce size ($4.75 plus $2.75 for shipping and handling) or 32-ounce size ($6.25 plus $3 for shipping and handling). Commercial sizes--one or five gallons--also are available. Contact Botanical Science, 3421 Fordham Ave., Santa Ana, Calif. 92704; (800) 889-7771.

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