You want your kids and teens happy, but you also want to keep them safe. And with roughly one in ten children’s eye injuries that end up in the emergency room caused by toys, this is something to consider as you shop for gifts for the kids in your life.  

In support of Safe Toys and Celebrations Month this December, the American Academy of Ophthalmology advises caution when choosing holiday gifts for young people. They also suggest you look at your own celebrations, especially opening champagne for New Year’s Eve parties, to minimize the risk of eye injuries. 

Keep reading to learn some ways to keep everyone in the family happy during Safe Toys and Celebrations Month!

Protection first

It’s easier to protect your eyes than treat eye injuries. The soft tissue of the eye means that any damage can have a long-lasting impact. 

Injuries to the eye caused by toys frequently result in corneal abrasions and ocular hyphema, which is bleeding inside the eye. When the trauma is especially serious, retinal detachment, ruptured eyeballs, and even severe vision loss can occur.

Keeping Kids Safe and Happy

Balancing what your kids want with your desire to protect them is sometimes challenging. Keep these tips in mind when buying toys for your kids:

Avoid Certain Toys

Avoid toys with sharp protruding parts or toys that fire projectiles. This includes crossbows and BB, pellet, Airsoft, paintball, and other guns. 

If your child really wants this, make sure they wear protective eyewear when playing with these toys.

Supervise Your Children

Keep a watchful eye whenever your child plays with toys or games that could lead to eye injuries.

Check Labels

Is a laser type of device on your child’s wish list? Check for a label that shows the device complies with 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations) Subchapter J. 

At the very least, find out the output power. According to the AAO, if a laser with less than five milliwatts of output power is directed at someone’s eye, that person can blink or turn away without suffering an eye injury.

Include Protective Eyewear With Your Gift

Sports equipment is a popular gift, but be sure to include appropriate protective eyewear. Choose polycarbonate lenses.

Age Appropriate Gifts

Make sure the gift matches the age of your child. Toys are frequently labeled with age recommendations, and it’s best to follow this guidance. And don’t let kids play with toys given to older siblings. 

Keeping Adults Safe and Happy

What’s New Year’s without champagne? A bottle of bubbly signals celebrations and good times. 

However, champagne bottles contain liquids under pressure, and a flying cork at speeds up to fifty miles per hour can shatter glass. A cork to the eye can cause corneal abrasions, ocular hyphema, and even glaucoma. 

Take these precautions when uncorking a bottle of champagne:

Refrigerate Your Champagne Before Opening 

Champagne bubbles are filled with gas that expands when warm. A cold bottle can be safer to handle.

Take it Outside 

If you can, step out of the kitchen onto a back deck, balcony, or patio, so that no one else is around when you uncork. Always point the bottle away from others. 

When opening, hold it at a forty-five-degree angle with the bottle base slightly lower than the neck. 

Don’t Shake the Bottle

This will create more bubbles and more pressure. This can be more dangerous than opening an unshaken bottle.

Cover the Neck With a Towel 

Remove the foil and the wire cage that holds the cork on, then drape a towel over the cork and keep steady pressure on the cork. Turn the bottle in your hands while holding the cork still. 

Pressure will pop the cork, but you’ll have it under control. 

Do you want to learn more ways you can keep your family safe this holiday season? Schedule an appointment at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, ME, today!