With the holiday season upon us, children’s wish lists are growing longer for new, exciting toys. While parents want to give their children great joy, some toys may pose safety issues. Providence Eye & Laser Specialists takes a moment to discuss a few safety precautions parents should consider this year in order to protect their children’s head, face and eyes.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency rooms treat more than 250,000 toy-related injuries each year, almost half of which affect the head or face – including the eyes. (Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology). For this reason, we advise taking safety precautions when buying your children presents for the upcoming holiday festivities, so your family can minimize the need to see an emergency eye care doctor.

Advice for children under the age of 8:

As the parent of both an infant and 3 year old, Dr. Vanessa Mills understands most of the learning that occurs during a child’s younger years happens in play. However, at such young ages, it is critical that toys be age-appropriate for your children. There are numerous hazards when children play with toys that are not in the correct age range for them. Maximize safety by ensuring younger age group toys are:

  • Well-made (no sharp parts or areas that may pinch small hands or fingers)
  • Painted with non-toxic, lead-free paint
  • Shatter-proof
  • Age appropriate (follow new toy age guidelines and consider your child’s maturity level)
  • Flame-resistant (especially if made of fabric)

In addition, ensure toys are in good condition from time to time, check battery-operated toys for secure screws so they cannot be opened, and make certain toys do not have small pieces or parts that may become lodged in children’s throats and cause suffocation (this is especially important with children under age 3).

Parents can regularly visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to stay up-to-date on the latest toy recalls and discuss vision safety in greater detail with their child’s eye care doctor.

Advice for children 8 and older:

Blessed with 12-year-old twins and a 10-year-old as well, child safety is a top priority for Dr. Mozayeni and his family. As their children grow older, wish lists grow larger, sometimes with additional hazards. By this age, many children want toys that propel objects, such as air ball guns, BB guns, paintball guns and darts. Here are some useful tips to help keep play with these sorts of toys fun and safe:

  • Carefully read directions on how to use the toy
  • Always make sure the toy is pointed down or at the appropriate target, not toward the face or someone else.
  • Teach children how to play with new toys properly.
  • Review the do’s and don’ts of new toys
  • Make sure there is adult supervision when appropriate
  • Wear protective eye wear when necessary
  • If an injury occurs, seek medical help via an emergency eye care doctor as soon as possible.
  • When the fun is done, make sure all toys are put away safely, away from younger children’s reach.

While we hope you and your children’s holiday season does not include an emergency trip to the eye care doctor, we want our patient families to know we will assist you in any way we can, should the need present itself. From all of us at Providence Eye & Laser Specialists, we wish you a wonderful holiday season, full of love, happiness and, of course, safe play.

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