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Focusing on Kids’ Eye Safety

Sometimes it's challenging to know which toys are not harmful for our kids' eyes.

Children are born with only semi-formed vision. Nothing stimulates a child's visual development more efficiently than play, which encourages hand-eye coordination and learning about spatial relationships. Good toys to encourage an infant's sight in his or her first year include toys with basic shapes or colors, and activities that have interactive or removable objects, puppets and balls. In the initial three months of life, babies can't entirely see color, so simple black and white pictures are really great for their age group.

Since children spend a large amount of their day using toys, it is up to us to check that their toys are safe for their eyes as well as their overall wellbeing. Firstly, to be safe, toys must be age-appropriate. Hand-in-hand with making sure to keep toys age-appropriate is to be sure that the toy is developmentally appropriate, too. Despite the fact that toy companies mention targeted age groups on the box, as a parent, you still need to make the call, so your son or daughter doesn't play with something that might be damaging in any way.

Blocks are appropriate for almost every age group, but for younger children, you need to inspect them for sharp edges and corners, to decrease the chance of danger to the eyes, or any other part of the body. You should also take note of toy size. With toddlers, a toy that can fit into their mouths is not something they should be playing with. Put that small toy away until your son or daughter is older.

Any plush toys are best if machine washable, and, for younger children, free of very small parts to pull off, such as buttons or ribbons. Don't buy toys with edges or sharp components for a young child, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, always make sure the ends aren't sharp. Always pay attention when they play with those kinds of toys.

If your child is under 6 years old, be wary of toys which shoot, like dart guns. Even when they're older than 6, always pay close attention with toys like that. On the other hand, if you have older kids who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they are wearing protective eyewear.

So when you next find yourself shopping for the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions, keep a close eye out for the manufacturers' warning about the intended age range for the toy. Ensure that toys you buy don't pose any harm to your child's eyes - even if your child really wants it.