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Let’s Play Safe: Eye Safety and Children

Sometimes it’s difficult to choose toys that are not harmful for children’s eyes.

Children are born with an only partially developed visual system. Nothing stimulates a child’s visual development better than playing, which involves hand-eye coordination and a deeper understanding of spaces and distances between objects. Good toys to encourage a baby’s visual development in his or her first year include toys with basic shapes or colors, and activities with detachable and changeable objects, puppets and books. In the first three months of life, babies can’t entirely see color, so objects with strong, black and white pictures can be stimulating for them.

Because children spend so much time using toys, it is up to us to make sure their toys are safe for their eyes as well as their overall wellbeing. Kids should be given toys that are made for their own age group. Along with making sure to keep toys age-appropriate is to make sure that toys are suited to their level of development. Even though companies mention targeted age groups on the box, you still need to make the call, so your child doesn’t play with anything that might be damaging in any way.

Blocks are great for almost all ages, but for younger children, make sure the corners and edges are blunted, to decrease the risk of harm. The size of toys is also important take note of. With toddlers, any object that can fit into their mouths is not something they should have access to. Be watchful of toys that can be manipulated into a smaller size as well. Put that small toy away until your son or daughter is older.

Avoid toys with edges or any sharp parts for young children, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, always make sure the ends aren’t sharp. Closely supervise toddlers when they play with such toys.

For kids younger than 6, stay clear of toys which shoot, such as dart guns. Always closely watch children playing with those kinds of toys. On the other hand, when it comes to older kids who have chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they wear protective eyewear.

When you’re next looking to buy gifts for the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions, keep a close eye out for the age and developmental recommendations on toys. Be certain that there’s no harm posed to your child.