Gift-giving holidays are right around the corner and, as fun and exciting as new toys are, playing it safe is important, too. Here’s a not-so-fun statistic to consider: One in ten eye injuries for children at emergency rooms in the United States are from toys, primarily from projectile ones such as crossbows, darts, BB guns, air-soft guns, Nerf guns, and slingshots. While those toys are fairly obvious that they may cause an eye injury, there are other toys that shoot small projectiles as part of the overall play experience that can also be a problem (i.e., Legos, Paw Patrol) too. A good rule of thumb for those kinds of toys is that parents should be able to explain the risks to their children to help them to avoid eye injuries. If the child can’t understand what they’re being told, they’re probably too young or too immature to play with it just yet.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also adds laser toys to the list, saying in their bulletin that the highly concentrated light can cause serious vision issues if pointed directly at eyes.
Avoiding those kinds of toys, especially for children under the age of 6, is but one way to prevent eye injuries. Here are several other things to look for in choosing toys for your children:
- Well-constructed toys (check for flimsy plastics that may break and cause sharp edges).
- Toys with rounded edges (eliminates potential hazards).
- Age-appropriate toys (if in doubt, follow the recommended age guidelines for the toys).
- Developmentally appropriate toys (you know your child best, choose toys that you know they are ready for).
Let’s all help to keep toys fun, by keeping them safe to enjoy as well. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year from all of us at All About Eyes!