Toys and Children’s Eye Safety
Toys and Children’s Eye Safety
Toys are big sources of entertainment for infants and children. Toys also play an important role in learning as all senses are being engaged. They also help to develop fine motor skills in children.
Most toys in the market, if not all, are labeled with the recommended age group for the specific toy. The toys’ age recommendation is not only based on a child’s developmental stage, it does take into account as well the safety of the child and the possible risks for injury.
Age-appropriate toys should be considered when shopping for toys, as they are an investment to a child’s development.
Children spend a lot of their time with their toys, and most accidents at home are toy-related. Injury to the eyes are more common than not, and can range from eye irritation, blunt traumas, scratches or corneal abrasions, to more serious vision-threatening bleeding inside the eye. Retinal detachment is a possible complication too. As harmless as they may seem, some toys can cause serious damage to a child’s delicate eyes.
General tips for patients and caregivers:
Avoid toys with sharp edges or points. Toy swords and sabers fall under this category.
Avoid projectile toys. Guns that shoot bullets, water, or darts should be avoided even if they are made of soft, lightweight materials. The force can be strong enough to damage the eye especially if shot on a close range.
Avoid laser toys. Lasers on toy guns for aiming, portable laser pointers and other toys that project laser beams should be avoided. The highly-concentrated laser beam when shone directly to the eye can cause immediate damage.
Slimy gels and gooey plastic toys can leave residual chemicals that can cause eye irritation. Make sure to have the child wash their hands after playing.
Damaged toys should either be repaired or discarded. Broken pieces or loose parts can cause injury.
Inspect the toys carefully before giving to children. Always check the packaging and make sure that the toy is age-appropriate. Make sure the toys are sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking as broken pieces can cause injury and can be accidentally ingested.
Check the toy’s paint and make sure it’s not likely to peel off. Lead based paint can cause toxicity when ingested. Most toys may indicate that it’s lead-free, but cheaper toys in the market that are unregulated may still contain lead.
If possible, explain to the child how to properly use or operate the toy.
Supervise the child as much as possible when playing with toys that may pose safety hazards.
Safety goggles or polycarbonate sports glasses can be provided for children engaging in sports or activities that may involve the possibility of objects hitting the eye.
If a child experiences any eye injury from toys, immediately seek medical advice from an eye doctor. Do not try to self medicate the child nor try to remove any object stuck on the eye. Keep the child from touching or rubbing the eye. If any chemical went into the eye, immediately flush the eye with lots of water. Do not delay medical attention.