Eye safety is often the last thing on a parent’s mind when buying toys for their child. We just naturally assume that, if it’s in a toy store, it’s been tested for safety. But some of those toys may pose serious risks for eye injuries, some of which may result in permanent vision loss.
It’s surprising to learn that approximately a quarter of a million children in the U.S. alone end up in an emergency department every year because of toy-related injuries. Almost half of these injuries are to the head and face, including eye injuries. Children under the age of 5 make up about 35 percent of toy-related injuries.
To keep your child’s eyes safe, the following is a list of six types of toys to avoid.
Potentially Dangerous To Eyes
Common injuries to eyes caused by accidents with toys range from minor scratches to the surface of the eye (corneal abrasion) to serious, sight-threatening injuries like corneal ulcers, traumatic cataracts, bleeding inside the eye and retinal detachment.
Guns that shoot any kind of projectile, including toy guns that shoot lightweight soft darts can harm a child’s eyes. Toy guns of this type can shoot up to distances of 75 feet and darts move fast enough to cause eye injury, especially when used at close range indoors.
Water Balloon Launchers
Water balloon launchers and water guns can cause blunt trauma to the eye that can result in retinal detachment and permanent vision loss. Even water guns can cause serious eye damage, especially at close range.
Toy Fishing Poles
The ends on toy fishing poles or objects attached to the end of fishing lines can easily end up in a friend’s eye.
Toy wands, swords, sabers or guns with bayonets all have sharp points that can cause eye injuries.
Aerosol string contains chemicals that can cause a painful eye irritation called chemical pink eye. At close range, aerosol string can also cause corneal abrasions that can lead to serious eye infections. Party foam can also cause a chemical burn to the eyes that can cause red eyes, blurred vision and eye infections.
Laser pointers and bright flashlights, though not really toys, are popular with children playing laser tag. Laser pointers, such as those used for business presentations, should never be used by children because the light intensity of these devices is sufficient to cause permanent vision loss. Even high-powered LED flashlights can be dangerous as they can cause short-term blindness, which puts a child at risk of a fall or other accident.