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Childs Play – How to keep them playing safe.

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          Do you really know what sorts of toys are the safest and the most beneficial for kids?

          Infants are born with a primitive visual system which forms throughout their early years with the correct  stimulation. Crucial to a child's visual development  are toys and activities that involve hand-eye coordination and learning about spatial relationships.  In the initial three months of life, babies can't completely see color, so simple black and white pictures are really great for their age group. The recommendations for infant mobiles and rotation of the crib in the room supports healthy eye development by keeping developmental stimulus at its peak for the infants eyes.
        Yes we all know our children spend so much time playing with their toys, so it is vital to make sure their toys are safe for both their overall health, visual development and eyesight. A toy that is not age appropriate may not be a safe choice. Along with age appropriateness is to check that toys are suited to their level of development.  Even though toy companies mention targeted age groups on the box, it's still important for you to make the call, and prevent your child from playing with toys that could cause an injury or permanent eye damage.
            Please check toy quality also.Check to make sure that the toy is made without small parts that might fall off. And if they're painted, make sure it's not with a product that might be toxic. We all know that children can be just a bit reckless, but they should always look out for airborne objects and other things in the playground, like swinging ropes that can strike the eye. If something like that does happen, it can lead to a corneal abrasion, or a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage, which is a popped blood vessel. Other times, the impact can manifest decades later, as something as serious as glaucoma.
          Avoid toys with edges or any sharp parts for little ones, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, make sure the ends aren't sharp. Closely supervise toddlers when they play with those kinds of toys. Be wary of toys with flying parts, like slingshots especially for toddlers and under. On the other hand, if you have teens who have chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always check that they wear safety goggles.
          So what about those computer games and kids play with so often? Too much uninterrupted focus on small detail with computer based games contributes to visual stress which in some cases can could stimulate the development of nearsightedness if so genetically inclined in your child. Doctors are recommending limiting time on computer devices for children of developmental ages to allow for less near visual stress and doctors suggest a parent has their child rotate with healthy play out doors .
        The next time you're considering gifts,please pay attention to the manufacturers' instructions about the intended age range for the toy. Be certain that toys you buy won't pose any harm to your child - even if your child really wants it.
For more information see our links All About Vision
To your eye health,
Dr Facchiano