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Safety at Play

Choosing the correct toys with eye safety in mind is something all parents are concerned with. How do parents choose toys that keep their kids’ eyes safe?

Children are born with an only partially developed visual system. Few things stimulate a child’s visual development more easily than toys that involve hand-eye coordination and a more concrete understanding of spaces and distances between objects. Between the ages of 0-3 months, babies can’t entirely see color, so toys with bold, black and white patterns can be stimulating for them.

Because children spend so much time using toys, it is crucial to make sure their toys are safe for their eyes as well as their total wellbeing. Children should be given toys especially created for their own age group. And up there with making sure to keep toys age-appropriate is to be sure that toys are suited to their level of development. Despite the fact that toy manufacturers mention targeted age groups on toy packaging, it is up to you to make the call, so your son or daughter avoids playing with anything that could be unsafe.

Toys must be well-made, and not have small parts that will fall and wind up being choked on. And if they’re painted, make sure it’s not with anything toxic or harmful. Children tend to horse around at times, but they should always keep an eye out for balls and other things in the playground, like swinging ropes that may hit and cause harm to eyes. If something like that does happen, it can lead to a corneal abrasion, or pop a blood vessel in the eye (also called a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage). And even if there appears to be no resulting injury, the impact can manifest years after the event, in the form of something as serious as glaucoma.

Stuffed, plush toys are best if machine washable, and, especially when it comes to smaller children, free of tiny pieces that can be pulled off, like buttons, sequins or bows. Avoid toys that have points or edges or any sharp parts for little kids, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, always make sure the ends aren’t sharp. Always pay attention when they play with those kinds of toys.

For kids below 6 years old, avoid toys with flying parts, like slingshots. Even if a child is old enough to play with such toys, you still need to pay close attention with toys like that. Whereas, when it comes to older kids who have chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they have safety goggles.

So the next time you’re looking for a gift, take note of the toy makers’ warning about the intended age range for the toy you had in mind. Be certain that toys you buy don’t pose any risk to your child.