December: Safe Toys and Gifts Month

Posted December 17, 2019


December: Safe Toys and Gifts Month


December is the month of gifts, snow, twinkling lights on a tree, and lots of holiday cheer. Every child looks forward to Christmas Day and opening all those beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree. Parents everywhere love watching the excitement and joy their children have in all those new toys…But some of those toys can recreate your favorite holiday into a nightmare.


What is Safe Toys and Gifts Month?

Prevent Blindness America has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Month. And in support, the American Academy of Ophthalmology advises every parent to exercise caution when choosing and purchasing toys for their children during this season. Every year, thousands of children ages 14 and younger suffer injuries, even blindness in toy-related accidents. Did you know that 1 in 10 of children’s eye injuries that lead to an ER visit are caused by their toys? As parents, we want our little ones to experience every happiness during the holiday season, and we try to choose gifts that will bring them joy! So how do we prevent these horrible accidents that will change their lives forever?


A Few Safety Guidelines

Any parent knows that it is impossible to avoid every accident that involves their child. And there is no way you can keep an eye on your child every single minute, especially during the holidays when there is so much to be done! You care about your child’s eye health, but also don’t want to deprive them of anything. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides abundant educational material on toy and child safety, but a quick checklist can help you get a start on your child’s eye safety this holiday season!

  • Consider if a toy is suited to the age or individual skills and abilities of the child, especially if they are under the age of three. 
  • Avoid games that involve throwing sharp objects, like darts, or toys that launch any kind of projectile, such as crossbows, BB and Nerf guns, slingshots. Even if the toy, like a Nerf gun, fires ‘soft’ projectiles, serious injury can occur and lead to days or weeks of pain and blurred vision.
  • Include eye protection with polycarbonate lenses in your gift of sports gear. Make sure that all involved parties, including adults, wear appropriate eye-protection when joining in a game.
  • Inspect all toys, including those gifted by a relative or friend, for sharp points or edges. Purchase durable toys that won’t break or shatter. 

If your child wants to use a toy that is more dangerous, such as a crossbow, make sure they always have adult supervision. And keep toys made for older children away from your younger ones.


You Can Still Enjoy the Holidays!

Now that we’ve covered all the ends and outs of toy safety, what about the rest of your favorite family traditions? Maybe you are now thinking about all the other Christmas pastimes you love that involve breakables, sharp objects, and possible injuries? Remember, the most important part of eye safety with your children is the supervision and foresight you can give them as a parent. You don’t need to stress this season. If you love making paper snowflakes or other fun holiday crafts that involve scissors or glue guns, get involved in the fun! Show them the proper way to handle the tools they are using and take care of the more dangerous parts yourself. 

Hang those breakable ornaments high above inquisitive fingers where everyone can still enjoy them. Leave some soft, harmless trinkets on the lower branches of your tree and be aware of what decorations you leave on low tables and shelves.

With these simple tips and general practical reminders, your family will all enjoy all the best of the holidays without a dreaded emergency room run. And if it’s been some time since your last appointment, make one today! The holidays are always better enjoyed through clear vision. Schedule your next appointment at our Christiansburg or Salem locations. We are happy to answer any and all of your questions.

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