While the holiday season is a festive time of fun, celebration and gift-giving, it is also an important time for parents, grandparents or other gift-givers to understand and consider the safety factors of toys for children. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 251,800 toy-related injuries to children, 15 and under, in 2014. Of these injuries, 44% were to the face and head area—the highest of all body regions. In fact, the most common injuries were lacerations, contusions or abrasions. Also, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology points out that “many toys have the potential to cause eye injuries and being aware and thoughtful about what you are putting in your children’s hands is the best preventative medicine. We need to choose toys that are appropriate for the child’s age and consider the willingness for parent supervision with the toy.”
December recognizes Safe Toys and Gifts month. So, before you make any purchases this year, remember to consider the safety and age range of the toys you buy. The following are simple guidelines outlined by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Prevent Blindness America:
- Read all labels and warnings on toy boxes.
- Avoid purchasing toys with rigid or sharp points, rods, spikes, or dangerous edges.
- Purchase toys that meet the safety standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
- Only buy toys that are meant for the child’s age or maturity, and ability.
- Inspect toys before given to children.
- Show children how to use the toy safely.
- Supervise children while playing.
- Fix or throw away broken toys.
- Have children wear the right protective eyewear for sports.
If your child should sustain an eye injury, DO NOT allow him or her to rub or touch the eye. DO NOT apply medication to the eye, and DO NOT attempt to remove any debris from the eye. And, if the eye injury is caused by chemical(s) within the eye, flush the eye with water only. For all eye injuries, seek medical attention immediately.
By following the proper precautions, we can protect our children from injury. Keep them healthy and happy by scheduling yearly wellness check-ups and eye exams, as well as providing safe and age-appropriate toys with adult supervision.