Keep an Eye on Toy Safety this Holiday Season
With the holiday toy-shopping frenzy in full swing, chances are there’s a lucky kid or two on your gift list. Of course you want to pick out a fun toy. But some may pose a serious threat of injury to children.
About 251,800 children under the age of 12 were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for toy-related injuries last year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. And 44 percent of injuries hurt the face and head, including the eye area.
The eyes are particularly vulnerable to playtime weapons. Recent research from Stanford University found a 500 percent rise in children’s eye trauma related to airsoft and pellet guns between 2010 and 2012.
Commonly reported eye injuries from toys include scratches to the cornea and hyphema. More severe trauma that can end in blindness includes retinal detachment and rupture of the eyeball. Foam darts, slingshots and even drones can also pose a danger to children’s vision.
“Every year, we see kids shot in the eye with pellets, BBs or foam darts,” said pediatric ophthalmologist Jane Edmond, M.D., spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “These can all cause permanent, serious eye damage to a child. If you do let your children play with these types of toys, make sure they wear protective eyewear.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is urging parents to avoid buying toys that can cause serious eye injuries and even blindness in children. If your child experiences an eye injury from a toy, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist, a physician specializing in medical and surgical eye care. More toy safety tips from the Academy:
- Avoid purchasing toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts such as airsoft guns, BB guns and paintball guns. They can propel foreign objects into the sensitive tissue of the eye.
- For laser toys, look for labels that include a compliance statement with 21 CFR Subchapter J. This ensures the product meets the Code of Federal Regulations requirements for laser products, including power limitations.
- When giving sports equipment, provide children with the appropriate protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses. They are shatterproof and less likely than other materials to damage the eye if broken on impact.
For more information on toy safety, see the American Academy of Ophthalmology's toy safety page or watch the toy safety video.