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The holidays are a great time to spend with friends and family, but it’s also important to stay safe while celebrating.

Each year, toys that can often seem safe are responsible for causing thousands of eye injuries to kids. Studies show that toy guns often contribute to the most prevalent injuries, followed by playground equipment, bicycles and balloons.

child with gift

According to Friends For Sight, each year, an average of 250,000 children are sent to hospitals for toy-related injuries. Most of these injuries are to children 15 and under and more than half are facial injuries. The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns that most toys have the potential to cause harm and parents should take careful consideration when purchasing gifts for the holidays. Toys that are age appropriate should be chosen and parents should be aware of their child’s abilities.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology and Prevent Blindness America outlined the following helpful tips when purchasing safe toys:

  • Read all labels and warnings on toy box
  • Avoid purchasing toys with rigid or sharp points, rods, spikes or dangerous edges
  • Purchase toys that meet the safety requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials. Look for the letters ASTM when buying toys.
  • Only buy toys that are meant for the child’s age or maturity, and ability
  • Inspect toys given to children
  • Show children how to use the toy safely
  • Supervise children while playing
  • Fix or throw away broken toys
  • Have children wear the right protective gear for sports

Eagle Eyes Advanced Optic Technology provides additional tips:

  • Avoid buying flying toys, such as bows, arrows, slingshots and darts, which can be very dangerous. Toys like these often invite kids to target other kids.
  • BB guns are not considered toys and should not be purchased for children too young to handle them safely
  • Avoid buying toys with smaller parts for young children, which may cause choking and eye hazards.

When searching for that popular holiday gift, it’s very easy to get caught up in buying the “cool” new toy and disregarding safety concerns. However, small toys with many pieces could be poorly constructed, having the potential for eye injuries.

Christmas trees can also pose potential eye threats for both children and adults. Follow these guidelines when putting up the tree.

  • Branches and needles can be hazardous to eyes. When untying your tree, be very careful. Branches can quickly lurch forward, hitting and injuring eyes.
  • Glass ornaments should be hung out of a child’s reach. If broken, shattered fragments can greatly damage the eye.

If you or your child does sustain an eye injury, do not rub or touch the eye, do not apply medication to the eye, and do not attempt to remove any debris from the eye. If the eye injury is caused by a chemical in the eye, flush the eye with water. For all eye injuries, seek medical attention immediately.

For more information on Safe Toy and Celebration Month, visit Friends for Sight at or Eagle Eyes at