Of course, moms and dads are concerned with the eye safety of their kids. But it can be hard to know how to choose the toys that are the safest and most beneficial.
Infants are born with an immature visual system which forms throughout their early years with the correct sort of stimulation. There aren’t many things that help a child’s visual development better than toys and activities that encourage hand-eye coordination and learning about spatial relationships. The best toys to encourage a baby’s visual development in his or her first year include mobiles with geometric patterns or bright contrasting colors and activities that have interactive or removable objects, balls, books and puppets. Until they’re 3 months old, babies can’t totally differentiate between colors, so simple black and white images of things like bulls-eyes or checkerboard patterns are particularly conducive to encouraging visual development.
Kids spend a lot of time playing with toys, so it’s important to check if those toys are safe or not. A toy that is not age appropriate is generally not safe. Hand-in-hand with age appropriateness is to be sure that toys are developmentally appropriate, too. Despite the fact that toy manufacturers print targeted age groups on the box, you still need to make the call, and not permit your child to play with anything that could cause eye injury or loss of vision.
Stuffed, plush toys are best if machine washable, and, for younger children, without any very small parts that can be pulled off, such as buttons or ribbons. Don’t buy toys with edges or sharp components for little ones, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, make sure the end is rounded. Closely watch toddlers when they play with those kinds of toys.
For kids younger than 6 years old, be wary of toys projectiles, like slingshots. Even if a child is old enough to play with such toys, you still need to supervise kids playing with toys like that. On the other hand, when it comes to older kids who enjoy chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they have protective eyewear.
When you’re next shopping for the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions, look for the age and developmental recommendations on toys. Ensure that there’s no danger posed to your child.