It may surprise you to know that every year about 250,000 children visit hospital emergency rooms throughout the United States for toy-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Approximately half of these are head and face injuries, including many eye injuries.
What can you do to help keep your child’s eyes safe? Start by supervising your child while he or she is playing with one of the following five types of toys that pose a high risk for causing eye injuries.
1. Toys That Launch Water Balloons
Gently lofting a water balloon toward someone located a significant distance away will probably not cause any injuries. On the other hand, launching a water balloon at someone’s face from a close distance can cause severe blunt trauma to the eye, possibly resulting in retinal detachment and even a permanent loss of vision.
2. Projectile-Shooting Toys
You may not think that a toy gun that shoots spongy, lightweight darts can pose a threat to the eyes. However, toys guns like these can shoot the cushy darts up to 75 feet in the air, so using them at close range can cause more damage to the eyes than you may think.
3. Toy Swords, Wands and Fishing Poles
Young children do not necessarily have the best control over long objects, such as toy swords, wands or fishing poles. When an object is secured to the end of such a toy, the risk of eye injury can be even greater. Don’t get caught off guard by how easy it is for the end of a long object to end up in a playmate’s eye!
4. Aerosol-Propelled String
Aerosol-propelled string such as “Silly String” may seem harmless, but the “string” in these types of products is comprised of harmful chemicals that can cause eye irritation, including chemical conjunctivitis, a type of pink eye. Not to mention, directing aerosol-propelled string at someone’s eyes from close range can scratch the cornea, potentially leading to an eye infection.
5. Laser Pointers
Laser pointers (as well as high-powered LED flashlights) should never be used as toys. Unfortunately, children may have difficulty understanding this. Many kids enjoy playing laser or flashlight tag. The problem is that pointing a high-intensity laser beam into someone’s eye can cause serious eye injuries, including permanent vision loss.
At Belmont Eye Center in New York City, we understand that you want your children to have fun while staying safe. Whether or not you prohibit your child from playing with the types of toys listed above is a personal parenting decision. Now that you have the facts, however, make sure you educate your children about the possible injuries that can occur when playing with these toys — and supervise their play time, especially if it involves the use of high-risk toys. Doing so will help keep your children’s eyes safe and healthy.
To learn more about what you can do to promote healthy eyesight, contact Belmont Eye Center by calling (212) 486-2020 or by clicking here.