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An Eye on Toy Safety

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It can be challenging to know which toys will not be harmful for our kids' eyes.

Infants don't have a completely developed visual system at birth, but it becomes more refined over time. There aren't many things that stimulate a child's visual development better than play, which involves hand-eye coordination and a clearer understanding of spaces and distances between objects. The most effective toys for stimulating a baby's vision in his or her first year include geometric mobiles or bright primary colors and play mats that have interactive or removable objects, puppets and books. Between the ages of 0-3 months, babies can't fully see color, so simple black and white pictures are really great for their age group.

Since children spend a large amount of their day playing with toys, moms and dads must make sure their toys are safe for both their overall health, and their eyesight. Children should be given toys especially created for their own age group. Along with making sure to keep toys age-appropriate is to be sure that toys are suited to their developmental stage. Although toy companies mention targeted age groups on packaging, as a parent, you still need to be discerning, and not permit your son or daughter to play with anything that might cause an injury and permanent eye damage.

Toys should always be of decent quality, and not have parts that might break off. And if they're painted, make sure it's not with a product toxic or harmful. We all know that children can be just a bit reckless, but they should always be aware of airborne objects and swings or even swinging ropes that may hit and cause harm to eyes. This can lead to a pretty serious injury like a corneal abrasion, or a popped blood vessel. Even if there's no immediate damage, the result of the hit can appear decades later, in the form of something as serious as glaucoma.

Steer clear of toys with edges or sharp components for little kids, and check that long-handled toys such as pony sticks or toy brooms have rounded handles. Always pay attention when they play with such toys.

If your child is under 6, stay clear of toys which shoot, like arrows. Even when they're older than 6, always pay attention with toys like that. On the other hand, if you have teens who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always check that they are wearing correct safety eyewear.

When you're next shopping for the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions, pay attention to the age and developmental recommendations on toys. Be certain that toys you buy won't pose any risk to your child.