December is a fun and exciting month for children of all ages. The students, faculty and staff of the Michigan College of Optometry and the University Eye Center wish all of our patients, patient families and the Big Rapids area community a happy and healthy holiday season.
As children anticipate a visit from Santa Claus and prepare their lists, parents should also take a moment to consider the best toys for children. We recommend the following resources to aid in toy selection.
Prevent eye and other injuries by selecting appropriate toys.
PREVENT BLINDNESS AMERICA Has been the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety organization with the sole mission of preventing blindness and preserving sight since 1908. Each year thousands of toy related eye injuries are reported, and even more go unreported. Prevent Blindness America suggest:
- Inspect toys for safe construction. Products given to young children should be made of durable plastic or wood with no sharp edges or points. The toys should be able to withstand impact. Avoid purchasing toys for young children with small parts, as they tend to put items in their mouths, increasing their risk of choking.
- Check your children s toys regularly for broken parts. Throw broken toys out immediately if they cannot be safely repaired. Older kids often alter their toys and misuse them, making them unsafe. It is better to be vigilant, even with older kids, so that serious eye injuries can be prevented.
- Read the instructions and the suggested age level on the packaging. Assess whether the item is appropriate for the child s ability and age. Age labeling is provided not just for developmental reasons, but for safety reasons as well.
- Look for the symbol ASTM F963. This indicates the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
- Make recommendations to family members and friends about gifts that you feel are appropriate for your child.
- Remain aware of recalled products. Large toy retailers post regular notices of recalled toys usually at the front of their stores. Take recalled products back to the store where they were purchased for a full refund. For further information on toy and product recalls, visit the U.S. Product Safety Commission website at www.cpsc.gov .
- Remove hazards in the car. As many families will be traveling by car this holiday season, make sure children are properly secured in baby carriers and child safety seats, and the seat and shoulder belts fit well. Children age 12 and younger should never ride in the front seat. And remember to store loose items in the trunk or secure them on the floor as any loose object can become a missile in a crash.
For more information in both English and Spanish on safe toys and gifts or to order the new Play It Safe with Your Eyes! DVD, click here or call 1-800-331-2020.
The U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION - is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death and has produced a list of Top Holiday Safety Tips.
Enhance Children's Vision by Selecting Appropriate Toys
The AMERICAN OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION represents the more than 34,000 optometrists across the nation and has developed a list of suggestions for selecting toys that will not only be safe, but will help promote children s visual development. Explanations for how toys and games can help children develop and suggestions for developing vision at playtime and toy-buying tips can be found at
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