Chances are, you may be buying gifts for children, nephews, nieces, grandchildren or friends this holiday season. Finding the perfect gift can be challenging enough, but how do we know if those seemingly perfect gifts are safe and eye care friendly?

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are roughly a quarter of a million children seen in U.S. hospital emergency departments due to toy-related injuries every year. With most of these injuries being to the head and face, it makes the eyes a very vulnerable spot. In 2009, children under 15 accounted for 74% of such injuries, and children under 5 accounted for 35%. Thankfully, most toy related eye injuries, like corneal abrasions, can be treated without having any long-term adverse effects.

What toys should require additional caution? Guns of all kinds, such as BB guns, paintball guns and pellet guns, as well as any other toy that shoots projectiles. Toys with sharp points, like toy fishing poles or swords, can also cause unintended injury to the eyes if used carelessly. It would be easy to assume that soft projectiles are harmless, but anything moving at high speeds can cause serious eye injury, especially if launched at close range.

Children handling sticky gel or soft plastic toys without washing their hands afterwards can cause eye irritation from contact with fingers coated with chemical residue. If aerosol string gets in the eye, it can also cause painful irritation called chemical pink eye. Party foam can also cause chemical burn to the eyes, as well as possible eye infections.

Being cautious doesn’t mean avoiding these toys altogether. But it’s wise to restrict such gifts to boys and girls old enough to exercise sufficient caution and remember to wear safety gear. Recommended age guidelines are helpful but all children are unique. It is best to discuss the toys with the child’s parents to make sure they’re a suitable gift. If your child does experience an eye injury from a toy, please contact us at 877-871-1684 to schedule an appointment with an eye care specialist.


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