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Protecting your children's eyes during the holidays

The holiday season is here, and for parents of young children that means a return to the annual toy-shopping frenzy.

Before you start notching items off your gift list, take a moment to consider safety precautions that might save an eye and a whole lot of headache.

First, the facts. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 251,000 children under the age of 12 were taken to the emergency room for toy-related injuries last year. The study found 44 percent of those injuries were to the head and eye area.

We all know how big our kids’ eyes get when they finally unwrap that toy they’ve waited all year for. It’s important to protect those eyes from preventable hazards. All it takes is a little discretionary shopping.

Consider toy guns and other play weapons. Between 2010 and 2012, researchers at Stanford University found a 500 percent rise in children’s eye trauma related to airsoft and pellet guns.

From scratches of the cornea to much more serious and potentially blinding injuries, toys like darts, slingshots and even drones can cause a host of eye injuries.

That’s why it’s imperative to understand the risk of toy weapons before filling up your shopping cart with potentially dangerous gifts. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is urging parents to avoid buying toys with sharp or projectile parts, such as toy guns.

Also, be on the lookout for laser toys that do not have a Code of Federal Regulations compliance statement, as they may also cause eye injuries. When it comes to sports items, make sure children have protective eyewear with polycarbonate frames and lenses. These are shatterproof and offer much more protection.

December 4, 2017