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Focusing on Kids’ Eye Safety

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Sometimes it's hard to choose toys that will not be harmful for our kids' eyes.

Babies are born with a primitive visual system which, through stimulation, develops throughout their growing years. Few things stimulate a child's visual development more efficiently than toys and activities that involve hand-eye coordination and a clearer understanding of spaces and distances between objects. Good toys for stimulating an infant's visual development in his or her first year include geometric mobiles or colors, and activity mats with detachable and changeable objects, puppets and balls. Between the ages of 0-3 months, babies can't completely see color, so simple black and white pictures are most engaging.

Since children spend so much time using toys, it is important to make sure their toys are safe for both their overall health, and their vision. A toy that is not age appropriate is usually not a great choice. Hand-in-hand with making sure to keep toys age-appropriate is to make sure that the toy is developmentally appropriate, too. Even though companies indicate targeted age groups on the box, it is up to you to make the call, and make sure your child avoids playing with anything that might be unsafe.

A great toy for most age groups is blocks, but for younger children, you need to inspect them for sharp edges, to lessen the risk of eye injury. You also need take note of toy size. With toddlers, any object that is small enough to fit in their mouth is not something they should have access to. Be watchful of objects that can be pressed or shaped into a smaller size also. It's best to put small toys aside until your child is no longer at risk of choking.

Don't buy toys that have points or edges or sharp components for a young child, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, always make sure the ends aren't sharp. Closely supervise toddlers when they play with those kinds of toys.

If your child is under 6 years old, be wary of toys with flying parts, like dart guns. Even if a child is old enough to play with such toys, you still need to pay attention with toys like that. On the other hand, when it comes to older kids who have chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always check that they have safety goggles.

So when looking to buy gifts for a special occasion, look for the manufacturers' advice about the intended age group for the toy you had in mind. Ensure that toys you buy don't pose any harm to your child.