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Toys and Eye Safety

It’s important to know how to choose toys that are the safest and the most beneficial for kids.

Infants are born with an immature visual system which forms throughout their early years with the correct sort of stimulation. There aren’t many things that encourage a child’s visual development more easily than play, which involves hand-eye coordination and learning about spatial relationships. Until they’re 3 months old, babies can’t completely see color, so high contrast black and white images of things like bulls-eyes or checkerboard patterns are particularly conducive to encouraging visual development.

Since kids spend a large amount of their day playing with their toys, it is vital to check that their toys are safe for their eyes as well as their overall safety. Firstly, to be safe, a toy should be age-appropriate. And it is just as important to make sure that the toy is developmentally appropriate, too. Although toy companies mention targeted age groups on toy packaging, it’s still important for you to be smart, and not allow your son or daughter to play with anything that could cause an injury or permanent eye damage.

Check that your child’s things are made well and won’t lose small, mouth-size parts with regular use, and check any paint for finish used is non-toxic and not likely to peel or flake off. Kids tend to horse around at times, but they need to learn to look out for flying objects and swings or even swinging ropes that can strike the eye. If the eye gets hit by something, it can cause a corneal abrasion, or pop a blood vessel in the eye (also called a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage). And even if it looks as if there wasn’t any resulting injury, the impact can appear decades later, as a contributing cause of something as serious as glaucoma.

All soft toys should be machine washable, and, especially when it comes to smaller children, made without tiny pieces that can be pulled off, like buttons or ribbons. Don’t buy toys with edges or any sharp parts for little ones, and check that things with long sticks, like pony sticks or toy brooms have rounded handles. Always pay attention when they play with such toys.

For kids younger than 6 years old, avoid toys with flying parts, like arrows. Even if a child is old enough to play with such toys, you still need to pay attention with those kinds of toys. Whereas, for older kids who have chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always check that they are wearing protective eyewear.

When you’re next looking to buy gifts for the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions, keep a close eye out for the age and developmental recommendations on toys. Make sure that there’s no harm posed to your child.

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