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Keeping Toys Safe for Eyes

It can be challenging to choose toys that are not harmful for our children's eyes.

Infants don't have a completely developed visual system at birth, but it becomes more refined over time. There aren't many things that help a child's visual development better than playing, which involves hand-eye coordination and a deeper understanding of spaces and distances between objects. Until they're 3 months old, a baby's color vision hasn't properly formed, so objects with strong, black and white pictures can be stimulating for them.

Since kids spend a great deal of time using their toys, parents need to make sure their toys are safe for their eyes as well as their total wellbeing. A toy that is not age appropriate is usually unsafe. And it is just as important to make sure that toys are suited to their level of development. Although toy manufacturers print targeted age groups on toy packaging, it is up to you to make the call, so your child doesn't play with something that might be unsafe.

Check that your child's toys are sturdily constructed and won't lose small, mouth-size parts with regular use, and be sure any paint for finish used is non-toxic and won't flake, as small particles can easily get into eyes. We all know that children can be a little reckless, but they need to be aware of flying balls and other things in the playground, like swinging ropes that may hit and cause harm to eyes. If something like that does happen, it can lead to a corneal abrasion, or a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage, which is a popped blood vessel. Other times, the result of the hit can show up years later, in the form of glaucoma or a premature cataract.

Any plush toys should be machine washable, and, especially when it comes to smaller children, without any tiny parts can easily come off, such as buttons or ribbons. Steer clear of toys with edges or any sharp parts for little ones, and check that things with long sticks, like pony sticks or toy brooms have rounded handles. Always pay attention when they play with those kinds of toys.

If your child is under 6, be wary of toys which shoot, like dart guns. Even when they're older than 6, always pay attention with toys like that. Whereas, for teens who have chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they have correct safety eyewear.

So when you next find yourself looking to buy gifts for a special occasion, look for the age and developmental recommendations on toys. Ensure that toys you buy won't pose any harm to your child's eyes.