December is Safe Toy and Gifts Month, and as the holidays approach, it’s important to keep safety in mind when purchasing gifts for your loved ones, especially children.
In 2018, over 225,000 children were hospitalized due to toy-related injuries, many of which included lacerations, corneal abrasions and ocular hyphema (blood in the eye). Eyes are particularly vulnerable to injuries, and depending on the severity of the injury, they can be permanent. The ophthalmologists at Wilkinson Eye Center encourage you to prioritize safety when purchasing toys and gifts.
What gifts are eye-safe?
When it comes to protecting your children and their vision, here are some general guidelines for holiday shopping:
- Avoid toys with sharp, protruding, or projectile parts. This includes toy guns, darts, crossbows, and paintball guns.
- If sports equipment is purchased, be sure to include protective eyewear, preferably with polycarbonate lenses or faceguards if necessary.
- If the toy includes lasers, check the label to confirm the device complies with 21 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Subchapter J.
In addition to choosing safe gifts for children, it’s important to properly supervise children when playing with any potentially hazardous toys or games to prevent eye injuries.
Safe & screen-free gift ideas
If possible, give screen-free gifts this holiday season. This will reduce the recipient’s eyestrain and decrease their chance of developing nearsightedness. Some eye-safe holiday gifts include:
- Arts and crafts supplies
- Social or educational board games or puzzles
- Outdoor-inspired gifts to promote an active lifestyle (such as roller skates, hiking boots, or a bicycle)
If your child incurs an eye injury from a toy, seek immediate medical attention. Before you reach a medical professional:
- Avoid rubbing, touching, or applying pressure to the eye.
- Do not apply medications.
- A cut or puncture should be gently covered.