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An Eye on Toy Safety

Understandably, moms and dads are concerned with the eye safety of their kids. But it can be difficult to know how to choose the toys that are the safest and most educational.

Children are born with an only partially developed visual system. Nothing stimulates a child's visual development more easily than playing, which encourages hand-eye coordination and a more concrete understanding of spaces and distances between objects. Until they're 3 months old, a baby's color vision hasn't properly formed, so objects with strong, black and white patterns can be really beneficial.

Kids spend a lot of time playing with their toys, so it's good for parents to know those toys are safe. Children should play with toys that are made for their specific age group. Along with making sure to keep toys age-appropriate is to check that the toy is developmentally appropriate, too. Even though companies include targeted age groups on the box, you still need to be responsible, and prevent your child from playing with toys that may cause eye injury or vision loss.

Any plush toys are best if machine washable, and, for younger children, made without very small parts that can be pulled off, such as buttons, sequins or bows. Steer clear of toys with edges or sharp components for little ones, and be sure that long-handled toys such as pony sticks or toy brooms have rounded handles. Always pay attention when they play with such toys.

If your child is under 6 years old, stay clear of toys with flying parts, like arrows. Even when they're older than 6, always pay close attention with toys like that. Whereas, when it comes to older kids who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always check that they are wearing safety goggles.

So the next time you're shopping for a gift, pay attention to the age and developmental recommendations on toys. Ensure that toys you buy don't pose any harm to your child's eyes.

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