When buying toys during the holidays, the last thing often thought of is safety. Accidents involving toys and children result in over a quarter of a million children being seen at U.S. hospitals every year.
Nearly half of the injuries are to the head or face—many are eye injuries. Eye safety is often not considered when purchasing the cool new toy for a child. According to the Academy of Ophthalmology, a number of studies show that some of the popular gifts including air guns, lasers, and projectile toys result in medical treatment and in some cases, even blindness for young children and teens.
Many toys can pose a risk for eye injuries, but the top six include:
- Projectiles and Guns – Though soft, cushy darts may seem harmless, the force behind their ability to shoot great distances can result in damage no matter the body part at any distance. Airsoft and BB Guns can easily propel pieces into sensitive tissue of the eye, potentially blinding.
- Launchers – When thrown or launched, water toys, balloons, and slime can result in blunt trauma to the eye, which can cause retinal detachment and permanent vision loss.
- Fishing Poles – Even plastic fishing poles from kid’s games can result in vision issues, as the line or “hook” can quickly end up attaching to body parts.
- Wands, Swords, Sabers, etc. – Kids often swing swords, wands, and sabers around when playing with friends, but these can easily injure others, even if the toy’s edges and tips are blunt.
- Aerosol String (“Silly String”) – The chemicals in this product can cause eye irritation, pink eye, and if at close range, corneal abrasion.
- Laser Pointers – Though not technically a child’s toy, if misused, a laser can result in permanent vision loss if the light intensity is directed long enough at a child’s eye.
To better protect children’s eyes, try to avoid toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, dangerous edges, or those that include shooting or flying parts. Toys that can withstand a harsh impact and not break into dangerous shards are suggested to avoid injury.
Educating children on safe play and inspecting toys regularly for breaks is one of the most important ways to reduce risks. Remember to buy toys meant for the child’s age and show them how to use the toy correctly. Being present, and not just giving presents is the best way to avoid injury.
If you are curious to know some of the worst toys for 2017 check out the listing here: allaboutvision.com
In addition to toy safety, avoid injury while decorating by taking precautions with decorations, check out the list, here.
Sources: AAO.org, Preventblindness.org, AllAboutVision.com