Christmas is one of the most joyful times of the year… thoughts of cookies, decorations, family gatherings, and toys abound. Birthday parties for kids add to the list of wonderful memories as well. But there are a few toys that may not make memories so fun because of their potential for ocular harm. The American Optometric Association lists dangerous toys each year to warn buyers of the potential harm to children’s eyes that could occur because of the particular design of that toy.
Here is a sample of that toy list:
- Laser toys and laser pointers, or laser sights on toy guns pose serious threat to the retina, which may result in thermal burns or holes in the retina that can leave permanent injury or blindness. The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health issues warnings on these devices at Christmas peak buying times.
- Any type of toy or teenage gun that shoots a projectile object. Even if the ammo is soft pellets, or soft tipped it can still pose a threat. Even soft tipped darts are included in this harmful toy list. A direct hit to the eye can be debilitating.
- Any toy that shoots a stream of water at high velocity can cause damage to the front and or back of the eye. The pressure itself, even though its just water, can damage small cells on the front and back of the eye.
- Any toy that shoots string out of an aerosol can can cause a chemical abrasion to the front of the eye, just as bad as getting a chemical sprayed into the eye.
- Toy fishing poles or toys with pointed edges or ends like swords, sabers or toy wands. Most injuries occur in children under 5 without adult supervision and horseplay can end up in a devastating eye injury from puncture.
The point is, that there are so many great toys to buy for children that can sidestep potential visual harm, that it behooves one to be aware of pitfalls of certain dangerous toy designs.
A great resource of information comes from World Against Toys Causing Harm.
For more information and for this year's list of hazardous toys, visit the W.A.T.C.H. website.
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