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Kids and Eye Safety

Choosing the correct toys with eye safety in mind is something all moms and dads worry about. How do parents choose toys that keep their kids' eyes safe?

Infants are born with an only partially developed visual system. There aren't many things that stimulate a child's visual development more efficiently than toys that involve hand-eye coordination and a more concrete understanding of spaces and distances between objects. The most effective toys to encourage an infant's vision in their first year of life include toys with basic shapes or bright contrasting colors and activity gyms that have interactive or removable objects, puppets and balls. In the initial three months of life, a baby's color vision hasn't really developed, so simple black and white pictures of things like shapes and simple patterns are very conducive to stimulating visual development.

Children spend a considerable amount of time playing with toys, so it's good for parents to know if those toys are safe or not. Kids should be given toys especially created for their own age group. Hand-in-hand with making sure to keep toys age-appropriate is to check that the toy is developmentally appropriate, too. Even though toy companies print targeted age groups on the box, it's still important for you to make the call, and be sure your child avoids playing with something that could be unsafe.

Blocks are a safe and useful toy for kids of most ages, but for younger children, check that the corners and edges are blunted, to decrease the chance of danger to the eyes, or any other part of the body. You should also take note of toy size. The general rule with toddlers is that a toy that is small enough to fit in their mouth is unsafe. Be on the lookout for objects that can be manipulated into a smaller size as well. It's best to put small toys aside until your child is more appropriately aged.

Steer clear of toys with edges or sharp components for a little kid, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, make sure the ends aren't sharp. Closely watch toddlers when they play with those kinds of toys.

For kids younger than 6 years old, avoid toys projectiles, like slingshots. Even when they're older than 6, always supervise kids playing with toys like that. Whereas, for older kids who have chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they have protective eyewear.

So the next time you're considering gifts, look for the manufacturers' advice about the intended age range for the toy. Be certain that there's no danger posed to your child's eyes.

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