"It's all fun and games until someone gets their eye poke out." Parents have been saying words similar to these for generations. However, as we approach Christmas, how many of us think about eye health as we choose toys for our children?
Toys can be visually stimulating and help develop skills such as eye hand coordination, but some toys can be hazardous to eyes. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Comission, 250,000 children each year are seen in hospital emergency departments due to toy related injuries. About half of those injuries are to the head and neck, many to the eyes.
All About Vision has published an article discussing what types of toys should be avoided (www.allaboutvision.com/toys-to-avoid). In addition, World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) annually list specific toys that are deemed dangerous. Generally any toy that shoots a projectile, such as BB guns, aerosoft guns and slingshots, should be avoided. Furthermore, toy swords, wands and sabers are often the cause of toy related eye injuries. Also, gifts like silly string and party foam contain chemicals that may be ocular irritants.
As we approach Christmas, let's remember eye safety. Let's ask Santa to bring one of many safe toys. Maybe if we've been really good, he'll even leave a pair of safety glasses in our stocking.