(903) 892-2020
Camille D. Soto,
9th Annual ASSE Kids' Safety-on-the-Job Poster Contest by Camille D. Soto

You may have already purchased all the gifts for this 2011 Christmas season, and we want to offer a safety consideration during this gifting season. Children and adults of all ages always know what toys they want to unwrap this holiday season, but consider for a moment they may be ill equipped to determine which ones potentially can be dangerous. But you can make sure injury doesn't happen by simply providing protective eyewear.

Statistics out this year from the Consumer Product Safety Commission tell us that more than 250,000 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2010 and nearly three-fourths of those injured were children aged fewer than 15 years. Don't let this be an option for you or your family.

That's why the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is reminding parents about the dangers that toys may pose to children's eyes and offering its top five tips on how to choose safe toys for gift giving. You can share these tips with your patients:

  1. Avoid purchasing toys with sharp, protruding, or projectile parts.
  2. Make sure children have appropriate supervision when playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause injury.
  3. If you plan to give sports equipment as gifts, provide appropriate protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses. An ophthalmologist can provide advice about protective gear recommended for a particular sport.
  4. Check labels for age recommendations, and be sure to select gifts that are appropriate for a child's age and maturity.
  5. Keep toys that are made for older children away from younger children.

With so many toys being recalled or having the potential to cause injuries, many of my patients parents are wondering what toys are safe, said David Wheeler, MD, pediatric ophthalmologist and clinical correspondent for AAO. A good rule of thumb that I often share with parents is to choose a toy that is appropriate for their child's age, abilities, and their willingness to supervise their child's use of the toy. Being aware and thoughtful about what you are putting in your children's hands is the best preventive medicine.

Use common sense this year. Provide protection where it is needed, for children and for adults. Protection for your eyes is always a great idea.

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