The holiday season is upon us! With family and friends hopefully celebrating together this year, it is important to keep these gatherings safe and fun, while maintaining good eye health.
Did you know? Roughly 1 in 10 children’s eye injuries that end up in the ER are caused by toys. In support of Safe Toys and Celebrations Month this December, the American Academy of Ophthalmology advises parents to be cautious when choosing holiday gifts for young people and recommends avoiding those that launch projectiles.
Eyes are especially vulnerable to injuries, specifically serious injuries, that can have a life-long effect. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, some of the most reported injuries from toys include corneal abrasions, and ocular hyphema. More severe trauma can lead to retinal detachment, ruptured eyeballs and even blindness.
How can you tell which toys are safe for your kids?
Most eye injuries can be easily avoided by following these key safety tips:
- Avoid purchasing toys with sharp, protruding, or projectile parts.
- Make sure children are being supervised when playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could injure an eye.
- When gifting sports equipment, make sure to also include protective eyewear.
- Check toy labels for age recommendations and select gifts that are age appropriate.
- Keep toys that are made for older children away from younger children.
What are some safe, screen-free gift ideas?
Taking frequent breaks from phones and tablets is a good way to decrease eye strain. Stepping away from screens and out into the sun may also help decrease myopia, or nearsightedness, in kids.
Here are some eye-safe holiday gift ideas to consider this year:
- Arts & craft supplies are a fun gift for all ages and will keep your kids busy! Paint sets, coloring books, easels, jewelry beads, or knitting/sewing kits are a few ideas.
- Outdoor inspired gifts like snow gear, roller skates, hiking boots, or the classic bicycle gift are all good ways to encourage healthy outdoor play. Have a kid athlete in your life? Get them the right protective eyewear for their sport of choice. For skiers or snowboarders, that means UV-protected goggles – cold weather does not shield the eyes from the sun!
- Card games, such as Tabletopics Teen Edition or What Do You Meme, are great for getting teen eyes up and away from their phones and interacting with friends and family.
What happens if you or your child sustain an injury directly to your eye?
If you or your child experiences an eye injury from a toy, seek medical attention right away. For non-urgent matters, schedule an appointment with Northwest Eye by calling (763) 416-7600.
Sources: American Academy of Ophthalmology