Buying the right toys with eye safety in mind is something all moms and dads are concerned with. How do we choose toys that keep our kids’ eyes safe?
Children don’t have an entirely developed visual system at birth, but it becomes more refined over time. There aren’t many things that help a child’s visual development more easily than toys and activities that encourage hand-eye coordination and a clearer understanding of spatial relationships. The most effective toys to encourage an infant’s visual development in their first year of life include mobiles with geometric patterns or bright primary colors and activity gyms with detachable and changeable objects, balls, books and puppets. Between the ages of 0-3 months, babies can’t totally differentiate between colors, so simple black and white shapes and patterns are most engaging.
Kids spend a considerable amount of time playing with their toys, so it’s good for parents to know if those toys are safe or not. Firstly, to be safe, toys must be age-appropriate. Don’t forget to be sure that toys are right for their level of development. Although toy companies specify targeted age groups on the box, it is up to you to be alert, and prevent your son or daughter from playing with anything that might cause eye injury and permanent eye damage.
Look to see if your child’s things are sturdily constructed and don’t fall apart with normal use, and check any paint for finish used is not harmful in any way and not likely to peel or flake off. Everyone knows children can sometimes be just a bit reckless, but they need to look out for flying objects and swings or even swinging ropes that may hit and cause harm to eyes. If the eye does get hit, it can easily cause a corneal abrasion, or a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage, which is a popped blood vessel. And even if it seems as if there wasn’t any damage, the impact can show up decades after the event, as something as serious as glaucoma.
All soft toys should be machine washable, and, for younger children, made without very small pieces can easily come off, such as buttons, sequins or bows. Steer clear of toys that have points or edges or any sharp parts for young children, and check that long-handled toys such as pony sticks or toy brooms have rounded handles. Always pay attention when they play with such toys.
For children below 6, be wary of toys with flying parts, like arrows. Even if a child is old enough to play with such toys, you still need to pay close attention with those kinds of toys. Whereas, when it comes to teens who have chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they wear correct safety eyewear.
When you’re next shopping for the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions, look for the company’s warning about the intended age group for the toy. Be certain that there’s no danger posed to your child’s eyes.