Every month, the American Association of Ophthalmology features an observance. They do this to bring awareness to particular issues about healthy eyes. 

The topic for December is Safe Toys and Celebrations. This is a very apt topic given that the last month of the year is filled with lots of holiday cheer. 

There may be bottles popping and many toys being bought for the holiday season. These toys may even feature projectiles. 

BB guns, slingshots, and other toy-like firearms can be a lot of fun outdoors. But these toys can also lead to some serious eye injuries. 

Santa Clause told Ralphie true in the famed “A Christmas Story,” when he said “you’ll shoot your eye out.” It’s a real life occurrence this time of year, and it stems from unsafe children’s toys.

Eye injuries are no fluffy topic, especially when it comes to the damage that can occur because of high powered projectiles like a metal BB, or a rock flying out a slingshot. Projectile firing toys account for roughly 1 in every 10 trips to the ER for children. 

To make matters worse, vision loss due to eye injuries is often permanent. In fact, eye injuries experienced by children can disqualify them for vision correction procedures as a adults. This includes LASIK.

Permanent vision loss can lead to higher and more complex vision correction prescriptions. These prescriptions also need frequent updating. This can lead to restricted driving privileges, or a denial of a driver’s license.

Eye injuries are a serious matter. They should be taken into consideration when it comes to giving children toys as gifts. 

Wondering what makes a child’s toy safe? Here are a few safety things to check off when it comes to giving gifts to children on your list this holiday season!

1. No Flying Projectiles 

As a golden rule, it’s best to avoid toys that fire projectiles. Though this is more about hard projectiles that could seriously damage a child’s eye. 

Toys in this category include BB guns, sling shots, bow and arrows, crossbows, or any other toy-like weapon. But not all projectile shooting toys are dangerous. 

Toy guns that fire soft, Styrofoam bullets are fine. They hit targets with a soft touch, and at a slower speed. 

2. No Easily Breakable Glass

When it comes to giving children toys that contain glass, make sure that it is not thin or easily breakable. This includes toys that have a viewing component, such as fun colored sunglasses, or kaleidoscopes. Glass shards in the eye are a fast trip to the emergency room.

3. Buy ASTM Certified Toys

ASTM stands for American Society of Testing and Materials. They are an organization that checks and tests the safety of children’s toys. 

Look for their initials on the packages of children’s toys. This is a good indicator that they are safe for the children on your list.

Regularly scheduled eye exams are the best safety precaution you can give to your children. Schedule yours today with Chesen Laser Eye Center in West Reading, PA! There’s never a bad time to make eyecare a priority!