No parent, grandparent, or family friend would knowingly give a holiday gift that would hurt a child. Yet, it happens every year. In fact, over 225,000 toy-related eye injuries are reported every year. You may wonder why. We will consider the reasons why this occurs and present an eye-friendly holiday gift guide.
Eye Safety Awareness
The best way to prevent eye injuries in children is for those purchasing the toys to be scrupulously aware of how injuries can occur and how to prevent them.
Some general guidelines include:
- Be aware of the recommended age for any toy and follow the guidelines. Read labels to identify if the toy is appropriate. A toy for an 8 year old is not suitable for a toddler.
- Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
- Look for the letters “ASTM” which means it meets safety standards.
Toys to Avoid
Avoid giving a toy that shoots or includes parts that fly off. BB guns are not toys.
Nerf guns and water guns can be dangerous too, especially if shot at close range. They may seem harmless but can cause serious eye injury.
Laser pointers are dangerous. The FDA advises that you should never aim or shine a laser pointer at anyone or to buy them for children.
Anything with sharp points should be avoided like bows and arrows.
Even paintballs can be dangerous without eye protection.
Never let your child play with firecrackers, fireworks, or sparklers.
Common Eye Injuries Caused by Toys
Corneal abrasions, retinal tears, or ocular hyphema are common injuries for young children.
Don’t mistake a hyphema with a broken blood vessel which is mostly harmless. An ocular hyphema is a tear in the iris or pupil causing blood to collect in front of the eye. Vision can be partially or totally blocked if that occurs. This injury is painful and needs immediate treatment by a pediatric ophthalmologist.
Blurry vision, black spots, lingering pain are all signs your child should get medical attention.
Look for Safe Toys
- If you are gifting sports equipment include the appropriate safety eyewear with polycarbonate lenses. Ask Pediatric Associates, Inc for recommendations.
- Look for some cool sunglasses to protect their eyes from UV light from the sun all year round.
- Choose toys that will get them outdoors and away from screens. Crayons, paint sets, balls, and chalk are all fun ways to encourage creativity.
- Building blocks and puzzles may be “old time” gifts but children still enjoy them.
- Roller skates, a new bike, or even a trampoline will get them moving and help keep them healthy.
As with all toys, supervision is key.
Keep the holidays happy, and avoid giving gifts that can injure a child. A little common sense and an “eye” to what’s age-appropriate will make for a happy holiday.
If your child does sustain an eye injury, contact Pediatric Associates, Inc for an immediate appointment.