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Focusing on Kids’ Eye Safety

Understandably, parents are concerned with the eye safety of their kids. But it can be difficult to know which toys are the safest and most beneficial.

Children are born with a partially developed visual system which forms throughout their early years with the right sort of stimulation. Nothing stimulates a child's visual development more easily than toys that involve hand-eye coordination and learning about spatial relationships. Good toys to encourage an infant's visual development in his or her first year include toys with basic shapes or colors, and activities with detachable and changeable objects, balls, books and puppets. Until they're 3 months old, a baby's ability to see color hasn't properly formed, so simple black and white images of things like shapes and simple patterns are very helpful for stimulating visual development.

Kids spend a considerable amount of time playing with toys, so it's good for parents to know those toys are safe. Kids should be given toys especially created for their specific age group. It is equally important to check that toys are suited to their developmental stage. Although toy companies print targeted age groups on packaging, you still need to be discerning, and not allow your son or daughter to play with toys that could cause eye injury or vision loss.

Blocks are a really good option for kids of many ages, but for younger children, it's important to check that there are no sharp or rough parts, to decrease the risk 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 any item that is small enough to fit in their mouth is not recommended. Be watchful of toys that can be pressed or shaped into a smaller size as well. It's best to put small toys aside until your son or daughter is no longer at risk of choking.

Any plush toys are best if machine washable, and, especially when it comes to smaller children, made without tiny pieces to pull off, like buttons, sequins or bows. Steer clear of toys with edges or any sharp parts for little kids, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, make sure the end is rounded. Always pay attention when they play with such toys.

For children younger than 6, be wary of toys with flying parts, like slingshots. Always pay attention with those kinds of toys. On the other hand, if you have teens who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always check that they are wearing protective eyewear.

So when you next find yourself shopping for a special occasion, look for the toy makers' instructions about the intended age range for the toy. Ensure that there's no harm posed to your child's eyes - even if it looks like lots of fun.

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