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Safety at Play

Understandably, parents are concerned with the eye safety of their kids. But it can be hard to know how to choose the toys that are the safest and most beneficial.

Babies don't have a fully developed visual system at birth, but it becomes more refined over time. There aren't many things that encourage a child's visual development more efficiently than play, which encourages hand-eye coordination and a deeper understanding of spaces and distances between objects. In the first three months of life, babies can't completely see color, so toys with strong, black and white pictures can be stimulating for them.

Because children spend a great deal of time playing with toys, it is vital to be sure that their toys are safe for their eyes as well as their total wellbeing. A toy that is not age appropriate is usually not a great choice. And up there with making sure to keep toys age-appropriate is to check that the toy is right for their level of development. Despite the fact that companies print age and developmental appropriateness on packaging, it is up to you to make the call, and not permit your son or daughter to play with toys that may lead to eye injury or vision loss.

Toys should always be well-made, without small parts that might break off. And if they're painted, make sure it's not with a product toxic or harmful. Everyone knows children can be a little reckless, but they need to learn to look out for airborne objects and swings or even swinging ropes that can strike the eye. If the eye does get hit, it can easily lead to a corneal abrasion, or a popped blood vessel. Other times, the impact can appear years after the event, as a contributing cause of glaucoma or a premature cataract.

Avoid toys with edges or any sharp parts for a little kid, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, make sure the end is rounded. Closely supervise toddlers when they play with those kinds of toys.

If your child is under 6 years old, be wary of toys with flying parts, like slingshots. Even if a child is old enough to play with such toys, you still need to supervise children playing with toys like that. Whereas, when it comes to teens who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always check that they wear safety goggles.

When you're next shopping for a holiday or birthday, keep a close eye out for the manufacturers' warning about the intended age group for the toy. Ensure that there's no danger posed to your child's eyes.