In the holiday classic, A Christmas Story, all Ralphie Parker wants is a Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot BB rifle with a compass in the stock. No matter who he asks, however, the answer is always the same: “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Even from Santa.
In the book, little Ralphie gets his BB gun and nobody loses an eye (although he has a little scare when a BB ricochets into his glasses). In real life, children are not always so lucky.
December is Safe Toy and Gift Month, an effort on the part of Prevent Blindness America to keep gifts appropriate for the age and skill level of the child. Primarily focusing on toddlers and infants, Safe Toys & Gifts Month is about more than preserving eyesight, it’s about choosing toys that will spark imagination, encourage development, and require interaction. When selecting toys for children this season, take time to ensure you are choosing one that is suitable for his or her abilities to help keep the holidays safe and fun for everyone.
What is a “Bad” Toy?
Depending on who you ask, a “bad” toy may be one that makes electronic noises or repetitive sounds. From a safety perspective, however, a bad toy for toddlers will be any with:
- Points or sharp edges
- Small pieces
- Ropes or cords
- Heating elements
Look for toys that have the ATSM International seal. This ensures the toy has been inspected and met the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials. Be sure to inspect all of the toys that you purchase on your own as well. Check for loose parts or anything else that could pose a risk to children to help ensure that the toy can be enjoyed without risk of injury or death.
What is a “Good” Toy?
Good toys for toddlers encourage exploration and creativity. Consider toys that can be played with independently, but also with parents and caretakers who can teach new skills. It’s a delight to watch children play with thoughtfully purchased gifts and even more fun to join in.
When selecting a toy, remember to look at the intended age range listed on the packet. Even the brightest and most precocious of toddlers will put everything in their mouths. Small pieces, sharp edges, batteries, and similar things pose the same risk to all toddlers. Make sure you are choosing toys that are intended for toddlers for the best results.
Books are a safe, interactive and educational option that most toddlers love. For smaller kids and babies, look for board books with rounded edges. For older kids, I Spy and other interactive options can create hours of fun and help build visual acuity. Age-appropriate books about the eyes and other body parts can also be great for kids. If you choose well, the book may be one you revisit often.
Contact Seeta Eye Centers
If you find yourself in need of an eye doctor this holiday season, Seeta Eye Centers is here to help. Our board-certified ophthalmologists maintain offices in Fishkill and Poughkeepsie to better serve all surrounding Hudson Valley communities. Call us today at 845-454-1025 to schedule an appointment.