Your eye-safety toy guide for the holidays

December is Safe Toys and Celebrations Month. Lighthouse Guild joins other organizations nationwide in reminding you to make sure the toys you buy this holiday season are safe for children.

Every year, more than 250,000 children are treated in hospitals for toy-related injuries. An estimated one in ten children in emergency rooms with eye injuries have injuries caused by toys.

General Toy Safety Tips

Toys with sharp edges, and other sharp objects pose particular threats for eye injury and vision loss in children. The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus reminds us that pencils, pens, darts, knives, fishing hooks and scissors can easily penetrate the eye’s sensitive tissue and cause permanent vision loss.

Toys with projectiles are common causes of eye injury. Injuries from playing with paint ball guns, pellet guns, BB guns and other toys with projectiles are also common, sometimes even requiring surgery.

For laser toys, look for labels that state the device complies with federal regulations for laser products, including power limitations.

Check labels for recommended age. Keep toys made for older children away from younger children. Repair or throw away broken toys. And make sure children have appropriate adult supervision when playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.

When giving sports equipment, include appropriate protective eyewear—with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses—and, if necessary, a face guard.

Specific Toy Eye-Safety Hazards in 2015

In time for the 2015 holidays, World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) has issued a list of the most dangerous toys that includes:

  • A foam dart gun that can cause injury to the face and eyes, and even death.
  • A “Smack Shot,” similar to a slingshot, which is sold with ammunition capable of firing “up to 100 feet.” Warnings include: “Launcher should never be aimed at eyes, face, people or animals.”
  • Oversized toy claws sold to enable 4-year-olds to “claw like a raptor.” These aren’t only a choking hazard, as the packaging warns, but also could lead to eye and facial injuries.
  • An electronic stealth sword that can cause facial or other impact injuries.

What to do if your child incurs an eye injury from a toy:

  • Seek immediate medical attention either at the nearest hospital emergency room or from your eye doctor.
  • Before you reach a medical professional, don’t touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye, or try to remove an object stuck in the eye. Don’t apply medication. A cut or puncture should be gently covered.