Did you know that roughly a quarter of a million children are seen in hospital emergency rooms each year due to toy-related injuries?
About half of these injuries are to the head and face, and many affect the eyes. While they may be fun to buy for birthdays and other occasions, certain toys pose a great risk to a child’s vision.
4 Things To Keep In Mind For Eye-Safe Toys
Most things will find a way into your child’s mouth, especially if they are under the age of four. When putting things into their mouths, other parts of the toy may find a way into their eyes by accident. Keep small parts and sharp edges away from younger children. If a must-have toy contains small flying parts, purchase protective eyewear.
The shape and construction of the toy is very important. Stuffed, plush toys are very eye-safe, whereas action figures may sometimes pose a problem. Here are some guidelines:
- The toy needs to be constructed properly so that no part will fall or break off during reasonable play. It should also not be able to be manipulated into a smaller size.
- Avoid toys with rough, jagged, edges.
- Make sure that long-handled toys (pony stick, broom, mop, etc.) have rounded handles as these are often involved in many eye injuries.
- Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air, such as slingshots and darts, for children under six. The most common play-related eye injuries are due to projectile toys. After all, you don't want them to shoot their eye out!
Usually, toy manufacturers provide a recommended age group for when a toy will be most appropriate for a child. For instance, a toy for a young child under three years old should never have any sharp edges or protrusions.
Supervision is prudent if there is more than one child at home. Kids will often play with their older siblings toys and inadvertently hurt themselves.
#4: Developmentally Appropriate
While paying attention to a toy's recommended age range is important, it's still just a guideline—and you know your child best. If a four year old is still putting objects into their mouth, they should not have certain kinds of toys. If your child is a little less coordinated, choose their toys wisely.
Sometimes, age ranges on toy labels even defy common sense. A pointy tiny sword, for example, can be labeled as suitable for three year olds when, in reality, for the average toddler it really isn’t appropriate.
We’re Here To Help
When buying your child’s next toy, keep these tips in mind! As always, we care about your family. We want your children to be accident-free during playtime so they can enjoy a long life of clear, healthy vision.
Thank you for trusting us with your family's lifelong vision care!
mage by Flickr user Eric Merrill used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.