Approximately a quarter of a million kids are seen in hospital emergency departments each year due to toy-related injuries with almost half of these injuries being injuries to the face, head, or eyes.
Nearly 69% of them were among children 12 years or younger and 36% happened to children under the age of five.
According to online surveys conducted by AllAboutVision.com – parents rarely, if ever consider eye safety when choosing toys. In fact, 41% of the parents surveyed said they did not and 54% responded that they knew some of their children’s toys could definitely cause eye-injuries.
Injuries can range from minor scratches to the front surface of the eyes which is a corneal abrasion to serious injuries that can threaten their sight permanently. Corneal ulcers, traumatic cataracts, bleeding inside the eye, and retinal detachment can affect a child’s ability to see for the rest of their lives.
It’s always best to shop in a store rather than online for toys. This way you can see and feel the toy up close to make the best purchasing decision. The age recommendations on toys are only meant to be guidelines.
If you are buying toys for older children, whether they be for your own children, grandchildren, or friends, keep in mind if there are younger children in the home. Discuss any purchasing decisions with the receiver’s parents to ensure they are okay with the type of toy you are considering as well.
Use your best judgment and inspect the toy, including how far it launches or shoots, as well as how it could be used. Things like swords, or wearable ‘claws’ are just not a good idea for a child of any age. They are basically an eye-injury in the making the moment you hand them over!
Last but not least, consider the child you are purchasing the toy for. Their developmental progress, how well they listen, how they play with other toys, or even how high-energy they are should all be considered. If your child or the receiving child does not have the capacity to handle the toy safely – choose to buy a safe toy for everyone involved.