“You’ll shoot your eye out!” Anyone who has seen the movie, A Christmas Story, has heard this bit of holiday advice, but BB guns aren’t the only toys that can harm your child’s eyes. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), roughly a quarter of a million children are seen in the nation’s hospital emergency departments each year due to toy-related injuries. That’s why it is important to keep the following tips in mind when choosing gifts for your children this holiday season:
- Consider your child’s age and maturity level when choosing toys. Brightly-colored balls, blocks and stacking toys are ideal for children of all ages. Stuffed animals, puzzles, musical toys and artistic playthings, like chalk, crayons, finger paints and modeling clay are also safe for most ages. These toys help children develop their creativity as well as their visual acuity.
- Avoid toys that shoot projectiles or have sharp edges or small components. These include fishing poles, batons, swords, laser pointers and bright flashlights. Aerosol string can lead to chemical conjunctivitis (pink eye) and should also be avoided.
- Provide supervision to children while playing. Inspect toys before giving to children, and periodically, go through your children’s toys to make sure they are in good condition and don’t have broken pieces that can harm them.
- Unsafe toys may be recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. To see if a particular product has been recalled, go to cpsc.gov.
These precautions should help prevent injury to your child’s eyes, however, if you child does sustain an eye injury, do not allow your child to touch or rub the eye. Do not apply medication to the eye and do not attempt to remove any debris from the eye. If injury is caused by a chemical, flush the eye with water. For any eye injury, seek medical treatment immediately.