Toys, Children and Eye Safety : Important information

Keep Children’s Eyes Safe, Choose the Right Toys

Infants are only able to see objects that are close which is normal because their vision continues to develop as they grow. It is also common to see farsighted pre-school or school-age children wearing eyeglasses. In these growing years, children’s vision needs good stimulation and toys are the number one choice.

Because children spend long hours with toys, parents must only provide toys that are age-appropriate and don’t cause harm. Many childhood accidents happen at home and most of them involve toys thus the importance of choosing toys that are safe not only for the child’s health but for the eyes, too.

Evaluating Toys

The right toys are those appropriate for a child’s age and development and are strong enough to endure normal rough and tumble. Small pieces, should a toy break, can end up inside a child’s mouth. Toys labeled for 3 years and older should not contain small parts if the child still puts things in their mouth.

Aside from being sturdy, a toy should be free of toxic paints that can peel. Stuffed or soft toys should be free from loose buttons or ribbons that a child may be able to pull and must be machine washable so that they don’t accumulate dirt and bacteria. Watch out for toys with rough or sharp edges. For toys with long handles, make sure they are rounded and that playtime is supervised.

Avoid accidents by not allowing younger children to play with toys that shoot objects such as arrows, dart guns or slingshots, unsupervised. Provide safety goggles for children old enough to play with woodworking tools or chemistry sets.

Toys that look cool may not be cool as far as child development is concerned. Ensure safety by checking proper toy-child age recommended toys.

Age-appropriate Toy Ideas for Hand-Eye Coordination Development

  • First 12 months

Colours that are bright make for very educational toys in this age group as this aids in visual acuity development: crib mobiles, balls, stack toys, rattles, stuffed animals, building blocks

  • One to two years

The following toys are very effective in the developmental stage of this age group: shape-sorters, non-toxic modeling clays, building blocks, finger paints, board games, riding toys, puzzles, musical toys, stacking toys

  • Two to six years

As they grow, children can continue to enjoy non-toxic modeling clays, finger paints, felt board and pieces, board games, writing/magnetic board with magnetic letters and shapes, balls, sorting games, musical toys, puzzles, kiddy gym set. Upon reaching their 4th year and onwards, more toys can be added such as kiddy versions of carpenter tools, office equipments like typewriters or cash registers, mini-household items, toy tea cups and cleaning tools, basketball set and roller skates or blades.

  • Six to ten years

This age group continues to enjoy playing with some of their toys from 4 to 6 years but would love to begin exploring further with sketches and colours. They will enjoy crayons, markers and finger paints. Bikes, camera, skateboard, roller skates, jumping rope and toy trains begin to become more appealing to them.

Toys That May be Harmful to Children’s Eyes

The World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) published a report to warn parents about toys that may potentially harm young eyes. Below are two of the top ten worst toys in WATCH list, both with an age recommendation of 4+.

Toys similar to Bandai’s Gigan Godzilla Figure

The toy figure has pointed fins and wings and hand-held piercing weapon made of hard plastic. The chances of a serious eye injury resulting from a child of 4 or below poking an eye or that of a playmate’s are high.

Toys similar to Jakk Pacific’s Jack Sparrow Action Figure

The figure holds a 4.5-inch pointed sword of hard plastic and may be moved as if in a sword fight. It can cause accidental but serious eye pokes which the package does not warn about although there’s mention of a small parts choking hazard.

Parents should take it upon themselves to ensure that their children’s toys will not cause serious eye injuries and not simply trust the recommendation of toy manufacturers. That way, vision loss caused by accidents from toys may be avoided.