According to Prevent Blindness America, children sustain approximately 11,000 toy-related eye injuries each year. Most toy-related eye injuries are treated, have no long-term effects, and are easily preventable.
Be aware of the dangers
Toys play a tremendous role in childhood development, but fun does not always equal safe. While common sense is always your best defense, there are some definite toy no-no’s. The items below should be avoided completely or only permitted with close parental supervision for children of the appropriate age. Check toy packaging for age guidelines.
- Toy guns
- Laser pointers
Equip yourself with safety information and stay in the know on toy dangers. Need some good resources? You may want to consult the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for a list of toy recalls by visiting cpsc.gov or calling (800) 638-2772. You can also view World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc.’s (W.A.T.C.H.) annual “10 Worst Toys” list by logging on to toysafety.org. Remember: do your safety research before hitting the toy aisle, not after.
Select safe toys
It’s smart to establish your own safety checks to help you make the right toy decisions for your little one. Here are some steps to follow.
- Prepare: Research the right toys for your child’s age group to determine the toys that interest them. Browse safety and toy reviews online by other parents like you.
- Read labels: Check for “ASTM” on the label, meaning the toy conforms to certain national safety standards.
- Play inspector: Are there sharp, pointed edges on the toy? Examine for sturdy construction.
- Keep safety going at home: Demonstrate proper use of the toy to your child. Put toys away after playtime is over. Dispose of broken toys immediately.
Sources: All About Vision, AAO, AOA, Glaucoma.org, NIH.gov