The holidays are right around the corner and as you prepare to shop for toys this season please keep in mind December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month. Dr. Greenberg reminds parents of the dangers that some toys may pose to children’s eyes.
Safety is often the last thing on people’s minds when buying toys for children but according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 250,000 children are seen in hospital emergency rooms each year due to toy-related injuries. Nearly half are to the face and head, many are eye injuries.
Before purchasing a toy look for the letters “ASTM”. This means the product meets the national standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials. When shopping for a toy take into consideration the child’s age, maturity level, abilities and the need for adult supervision while using the toy.
Parents keep in mind that sports equipment, while a commonly purchased gift, should include the appropriate protective eyewear. There are approximately 40,000 sports-related eye injuries a year, many causing permanent vision loss.
The following are toys with the highest potential risk for eye injuries:
- Guns that shoot any type of projectile. BB guns, paintball and pellet guns and sling shots. This includes guns that shoot lightweight foam darts. These toy guns can shoot up to 75 feet and at a close range can cause serious eye injury.
- Water guns and water balloon launchers. Water balloons can cause serious blunt trauma to the eye, resulting in possible permanent vision loss.
- Toy wands, swords and sabers. No need to explain.
- Games that include toy fishing poles. Objects secured to the end of the toy fishing pole can end up in a person’s eye.
- Aerosol string. The chemicals in these products can cause eye irritation. At close range, it could mean a corneal abrasion leading to an eye infection.
- Laser pointers. Not typically considered toys, children love to play with these. Portable laser pointers should never be used by children as the light intensity is sufficient to cause vision damage.
Whether you are shopping for your own or someone else’s children please keep this information in mind when purchasing toys this year. Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season from Greenberg Laser Eye Center.