Of course, moms and dads are concerned with the eye safety of their kids. But it can be difficult to know which toys are the safest and most educational.
Infants are born with an underdeveloped visual system which, through stimulation, becomes more refined throughout their growing years. Nothing stimulates a child’s visual development more efficiently than playing, which encourages hand-eye coordination and learning about spatial relationships. Until they’re 3 months old, babies can’t fully differentiate between colors, so simple black and white pictures are most engaging.
Children spend a large amount of time playing with toys, so it’s important to check those toys are safe. To be safe, a toy should be right for their age group. And up there with age appropriateness is to make sure that the toy is developmentally appropriate, too. Despite the fact that toy companies specify targeted age groups on packaging, as a parent, you still need to be responsible, and make sure your child doesn’t play with something that could be unsafe.
Toys must be well-made, and not have small parts that will fall off. And if they’re painted, make sure it’s not with a product toxic or harmful. Everyone knows children can sometimes be just a bit reckless, but they should always keep an eye out for airborne balls and other things in the playground, like swinging ropes that can strike the eye. This can cause real injury such as a corneal abrasion, or a burst blood vessel. Even if there’s no apparent injury, the impact can appear years after the event, as glaucoma or a premature cataract.
Avoid toys with edges or sharp components for little kids, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, make sure the end is rounded. Closely supervise toddlers when they play with such toys.
For children younger than 6 years old, avoid toys projectiles, such as slingshots. Even if a child is old enough to play with such toys, you still need to pay close attention with toys like that. Whereas, for older kids who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they are wearing safety goggles.
So the next time you’re thinking about gifts, look for the toy makers’ recommendation about the intended age group for the toy. Be certain that toys you buy don’t pose any harm to your child – even if your child really wants it.