’Tis the season for all kinds of presents, but there’s an edge to the holidays that’s often overlooked. Prevent Blindness America has declared December “National Safe Toys and Gifts Month,” an initiative designed to shine light on items that could pose a danger to our littlest loved ones.
With more than 250,000 children under the age of 12 ending up in the emergency room each year with toy-related injuries, it’s more important than ever that we find ways to protect our kids.
Toys to Watch Out For
Prevent Blindness America has a safe toy checklist to help you select gifts best suited for each child’s age and ability. In general, the organization recommends buying toys that are durable and won’t shatter into sharp pieces. Shoppers should look for products marked “ATSM,” a designation that indicates the toy meets gold-star international safety standards. Toys that shoot or launch accessories are also risky; BB guns are particularly dangerous, having been linked to eye injuries like corneal abrasion, hyphema, retinal detachment and even eyeball rupture.
How to Prevent Eye Injuries
In addition to selecting safe gifts for their children, parents should provide children with protective eyewear to use when playing with sports equipment. Inspect toys for defects, throw away any items with broken parts or cracked casings and show kids how to properly use their gifts to minimize the chance of accidents.
Stick to age-appropriate gifts — no plastic, pointy-tailed dinosaurs for toddlers, for instance — and always supervise playtime.
What to Do If an Eye Injury Occurs
In the case of an eye injury, it’s important to treat the affected eye properly to prevent further damage.
- Avoid touching the eye
- To remove loose foreign bodies, flush the eye with water
- For black eyes and blunt eye trauma, use cold compresses to combat swelling
Any issues such as prolonged redness, drainage, eye pain, changes in vision, changes to the normal shape of the eye, visible bleeding or severe swelling mandate an immediate call to your doctor or emergency room visit.
To make an appointment with the eye doctors at the Illinois Eye Center, call our office today at 309-243-2400.