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How To Choose Eye Safe Toys For Children
A toy store at Christmastime is an irresistible destination for both parents and children. Everything from the festive window dressings, to attractive discounts and fabulous Holiday stock displays are designed to promote the season’s impulse to buy, buy, buy.

It’s easy to indulge kids at this time, and get them all the playthings they could wish for without worrying about how safe, suitable or age-appropriate those toys are.

And yet, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, roughly a quarter of a million children are seen in the nation’s hospital emergency rooms each year due to toy-related injuries. 35 percent of these toy-related injuries are sustained by children under the age of 5, and nearly half are sustained on the head, face and eyes.

While child safety should be of paramount concern throughout the year, it is the gift-giving season when kids receive their biggest stash of toys from parents, family members and friends. Let’s make these Holidays a happy and safe one by choosing toys wisely and responsibly.

How To Choose Eye-Safe Toys For Children

 1. The Holidays are a time when a lot of kids get aerosol strings (Silly String, Streamer String, Turbo Spackle String Blaster etc.) as party gifts and stocking-fillers. Before buying them, be aware that the chemicals contained in these aerosol strings can cause a type of pink-eye condition called `Chemical Conjunctivitis’. You’re also running the risk of corneal abrasions if the product is used at close-range during play.

 2. Water balloon launchers are potentially very dangerous when kids use them without strict adult supervision. Blunt trauma to the eye caused by water balloons can result in retinal detachment and even permanent vision loss.

 3. By the same token, toy water guns pose a threat when children are engaged in boisterous play fights. If a stream of water hits the eye at close range, there’s always the risk of serious eye damage. Example of these toys: Water Blaster XLR Water Cannon, Nerf Super Soakers, Water Sports TL-500 Stream Machine etc.

4. Kids love to play laser-tag, and the eyes are a popular spot to focus harmful, high-intensity light on. Please ensure that laser product labels include a statement that the device complies with 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations) Subchapter J. And supervise the horseplay, especially if there are several children involved.

5. Children under the age of 4 tend to put things in their mouth or accidentally poke themselves in the eye, so make very sure that the toy is well-constructed and no part can be broken off easily or manipulated into smaller pieces.

6. Don’t give them toys that have sharp, jagged edges. The list includes toy fishing poles, toy wands, swords, sabers or guns with bayonets.

7. Toys that have long-handles should be rounded off as they pose as an eye-injury risk.

8. For children under the age of 6, don’t buy slingshots, darts and other projectile toys. These cause the most number of eye-related injuries.

9. Always be age-appropriate with the toys you’re choosing for a child. Manufacturers usually provide an age recommendation, and if you’re not accustomed to buying gifts for kids, rely on those recommendations when in doubt. Or ask the parents for guidance.

10. Finally, parents alone can take a judgement call on the `developmental’ appropriateness of a gift received from a grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend. No matter what the age-limit on the box says, parents know best if their 4-year-old is still putting small, shiny things in his/her mouth and therefore should not playing with a toy with small, detachable parts.

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