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Focusing on Kids’ Eye Safety

It's of paramount importance to know what sorts of toys are the safest and the most beneficial for kids.

Babies are born with only semi-formed vision. There aren't many things that encourage a child's visual development better than toys and activities that encourage hand-eye coordination and learning about spatial relationships. Good toys to encourage an infant's visual development in their first year of life include mobiles with geometric patterns or colors, and activity gyms with detachable and changeable objects, balls, books and puppets. Until they're 3 months old, babies can't completely see color, so high contrast black and white pictures of things like shapes and simple patterns are very helpful for encouraging visual development.

Children spend a lot of time playing with toys, so it's good for parents to know those toys are safe. A toy that is not age appropriate is often unsafe. Don't forget to make sure that the toy is right for their developmental stage. Despite the fact that toy companies include age and developmental appropriateness on packaging, you still need to be responsible, and not permit your child to play with toys that could lead to eye injury and loss of vision.

Look to see if your child's things are well-made and won't fall apart when they're used, and double-check any paint for finish used is non-toxic and not likely to peel or flake off. We all know that kids can be a little reckless, but they need to keep an eye out for balls and other things in the playground, like swinging ropes that may hit and cause harm to eyes. This can lead to a pretty serious injury such as a corneal abrasion, or a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage, which is a popped blood vessel. Other times, the result of the hit can show up years after the event, as a contributing cause of glaucoma or a premature cataract.

Don't buy toys that have points or edges or sharp components for little kids, and check that things with long sticks, like pony sticks or toy brooms have rounded handles. Always pay attention when they play with those kinds of toys.

For kids below 6 years old, stay clear of toys with flying parts, like dart guns. Always supervise kids playing with those kinds of toys. On the other hand, when it comes to teens who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they have safety goggles.

So the next time you're considering a gift, take note of the toy makers' warning about the intended age range for the toy. Be certain that toys you buy won't pose any harm to your child - even if they look really fun.