Every year ophthalmologists treat thousands of patients with eye injuries caused by seemingly safe toys. During Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Friends for Sight encourages parents to be aware of the potential dangers of children’s toys.
Did You Know?
The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) newest report 1 found that approximately 200,000 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments.
- More than 5 out of every 10 injuries in children younger than age 14 were to the head and face area.
- 3 out of 4 injuries were in children 14 years of age or younger.
- 4 out of 10 injuries were in children younger than age 5.
Eye Injuries from Toys
Eye injuries in children related to toys can range from a mild corneal abrasion to more serious injuries such as retinal tear and detachment. By taking proper precautions, you can protect your child from injury. The following tips about toys and safety for children are provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
- Avoid projectile toys like airsoft guns, darts, bows and arrows and missile-firing toys. Sharp, protruding or projectile parts can propel foreign objects into the eye.
- Avoid purchasing toys with rigid or sharp points, rods, spikes, or dangerous edges.
- Do not let children play with laser pointers. Reports from inside the U.S. and from other countries report serious eye injuries by playing with high-powered lasers.
- Look for recommended ages on labels. Select toys appropriate for a child's age, maturity level and ability.
- Inspect toys prior to use and follow instructions about assembly and use. Throw away broken toys.
- Supervise children closely. Ensure an adult is supervising children playing with potentially hazardous toys.
The FDA advises the public to never aim a laser pointer at anyone and to not buy them for children. They can cause severe retinal damage within seconds.
What Can I Do?
Be a Smart Consumer
- Purchase toys that meet safety standards of American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
- Be cautious about buying toys in other countries that may have different safety standards.
- Before purchasing a new or used toy, check that the toy has not been banned or recalled at www.cpsc.gov/recalls, or download the free CPSC Recalls App on CPSC.gov.
Do Your Part
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigates potentially children’s products and toys, issuing recalls when necessary. SaferProducts.gov is CPSC’s new website that collects reports from consumers about safety incidents.
To report an incident involving any children’s toy (or other product) log on to www.SaferProducts.gov. The information you share helps CPSC identify unsafe products and can help others too! Learn more here.
- Eye Injuries from Paintball Guns, Air Guns and Other Projectile Toys. American Academy of Ophthalmology.
- Children’s Eye Injuries: Prevention and Care. American Academy of Ophthalmology
1. Qin et al. Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries Calendar Year 2020. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 2021 2. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Last accessed 4-21-22.