December is Safe Toys and Celebrations Month! With holiday celebrations right around the corner, it’s time to think about the safety risks that may come with the gifts you are buying, especially for children.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that “Roughly 1 in 10 children's eye injuries that end up in the ER are caused by toys.” This is why we must be cautious of potential dangers before we buy certain toys. The good news is - there are many toys that do not pose such risks to your children and their vision!
We’ve got plenty of recommendations for the toys you should and should not consider, as well as how to decide if a toy meets the safety criteria for children and their vision.
Making Sure a Toy is Safe for a Child
When buying gifts for kids, steer clear of toys that include projectiles, such as BB guns or crossbows. Avoid gifts that have sharp or protruding parts. These parts can put one's cornea, retina, and overall vision at risk. After checking that a toy doesn’t have these parts, move on to inspect it further in the following ways:
inspect the box to see what parts the toy may come with, and if there are any safety warnings
read all instructions
look for the letters “ASTM", which signify that the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
Before giving it to your child:
make sure the toy has been made correctly, and fix or throw it away if it is broken
explain/show your child how to play with it correctly
And finally, be sure to always supervise your child while they are playing to prevent any accidents!
Toys for Visual Skills
The best gifts that take vision into account not only steer clear of danger, but are intended to help develop and/or improve visual skills! Try out some toys/games that target depth perception, visual memory, or ones that integrate other areas for development like motor skills, hand-eye coordination, visual memory, such as:
These toys can help with your child’s general eye movement skills, eye-hand coordination skills that will be helpful for writing and sports, and shape and size discrimination skills that will help to prepare your child for reading. Toys that aim to improve visualization and visual memory skills will facilitate comprehension and your child's ability to visualize abstract things.
The holidays should be a time of celebration, fun, and family - your cautiousness when buying presents can keep it that way by preventing unnecessary injuries or even trips to the ER!
Happy holidays from all of us at Bright Eyes Family Vision!