Tips for Choosing Eye-Safe Toys this Holiday

Around this time of year, you will no doubt run across a broadcast of the holiday film “A Christmas Story.” The film is told through the eyes of a 9-year-old boy named Ralphie who wants a BB gun for Christmas. As he tries to convince the adults in his life that the toy is safe, he is always met with the response, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

While the refrain is played for comedy, toy safety is not a laughing matter. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that emergency rooms treat over 251,000 toy-related injuries a year[1]. Forty-four percent of those injuries are to the head or the face.

A 2016 study published in JAMA Ophthalmology [2] reported that basketball, baseball, and air guns were the most common causes of injury. These items accounted for almost half of all sports-related eye injuries

Toys, like airsoft guns, arrows, BB guns, paintball guns, spray foam, and darts may cause serious eye injuries such as:

  • Scratched Corneas
  • Bleeding inside the eye
  • Clouding of the eye due to trauma
  • Swelling inside the eye
  • Chemical burns and irritation
  • Permanent vision loss

Avoiding Toy-related Eye Injuries

To reduce the potential for injuries, consider these tips for selecting “eye safe” toys this holiday season.

  • Avoid toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
  • Provide appropriate supervision when children are playing with potentially hazardous toys or games.
  • Check product labels to verify that the device complies with 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations) Subchapter J.
  • When giving sports equipment, provide the appropriate protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses.
  • Check labels for age recommendations and ensure gifts are age appropriate.
  • Keep toys that are made for older children away from younger children.
  • If an eye injury occurs, seek immediate medical attention.

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