December is Safe Toys and Celebrations Month! During this month, South East Eye encourages parents to pay special attention to the gifts they give their children during the holiday season. Toys result in thousands of serious eye injuries each year, particularly for children aged 14 and younger. Common eye injuries resulting from toys include corneal abrasions, ocular hyphema, traumatic cataracts, and increased intraocular pressure.
“Many toys have the potential to cause eye injuries,” said David G. Hunter, MD, PhD. Dr. Hunter is a pediatric ophthalmologist and spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Being aware and thoughtful about what you are putting in your children’s hands is the best preventative medicine. A good rule of thumb for parents is to choose toys that are appropriate for their child’s age and abilities, as well as the parents’ willingness to supervise use of the toy.”
To keep your child’s eyes safe this year, Prevent Blindness America recommends these three basic guidelines:
- Make sure that the toys you purchase are age appropriate.
- Show your child how to safely use the toys.
- Watch your child while they play, particularly if they’re younger.
They also recommend:
- Fixing or throwing away broken toys
- Inspecting toys for sturdy construction before use
- Storing toys after play to avoid trips and falls
- Paying special attention to scissors and glue, since they can be particularly dangerous
- Avoiding toys with rigid or sharp edges
- Inspecting children’s sunglasses, since the lens and frames can break and cause injuries
- Looking for the letters “ASTM” on toys, an indication that they meet the national safety standards set by ASTM International
If your child injures their eye, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Although many eye injuries may seem mild at first, leaving them untreated can result in serious infections or even blindness. December should be a month filled with joy and celebrations – not eye injuries. No matter how distracting the holiday season may get, don’t neglect you or your child’s vision.
For more information about common eye injuries, eye health, and ways to stay safe this season, contact South East Eye.