Understandably, parents worry about keeping their kids' eyes safe. But it can be hard to know how to choose the toys that are the safest and most conducive to development.
Babies are born with an underdeveloped visual system which, through stimulation, develops throughout their growing years. Nothing stimulates a child's visual development better than toys that encourage hand-eye coordination and learning about spatial relationships. Ideal toys that stimulate a baby's vision in their first year of life include mobiles with geometric patterns or bright contrasting colors and play mats with detachable and changeable objects, puppets and balls. Between the ages of 0-3 months, babies can't fully see color, so simple black and white shapes and patterns are most engaging.
Kids spend a considerable amount of time with their toys, so it's crucial to know if those toys are safe or not. A toy that is not age appropriate is generally not a great choice. Hand-in-hand with making sure to keep toys age-appropriate is to be sure that the toy is developmentally appropriate, too. Although toy companies specify targeted age groups on the box, it's still important for you to be alert, and not permit your son or daughter to play with toys that may cause eye injury and permanent eye damage.
Make sure your child's things are sturdily constructed so they won't lose small, mouth-size parts when they're used, and double-check that any paints or finishes are non-toxic and won't flake, as small particles can easily get into eyes. We all know that children can be a little reckless, but they need to look out for flying balls and swings or even swinging ropes that can strike the eye. This can lead to immediate injury like a corneal abrasion, or pop a blood vessel in the eye (also called a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage). And even if it seems like there wasn't any harm, the result of the hit can appear years after the event, as a contributing cause of something as serious as glaucoma.
Stuffed, plush toys should be machine washable, and, especially when it comes to smaller children, made without tiny pieces to pull off, like buttons or ribbons. Don't buy toys that have points or edges or sharp components for little kids, and be sure 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.
If your child is under 6 years old, stay clear of toys with flying parts, like arrows. Even if a child is old enough to play with such toys, you still need to pay attention with toys like that. Whereas, when it comes to older kids who enjoy chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they are wearing correct safety eyewear.
When you're next looking to buy gifts for a special occasion, look for the age and developmental recommendations on toys. Make sure that there's no harm posed to your child.