Christmas Toys: Keep Playtime Safe for Girls and Boys

Posted by: Missouri Eye Institute in Blog on December 10, 2020

There’s almost no joy that rivals the look of wonder on a child’s face on Christmas Day. A well-chosen, considerate gift is cherished and meaningful. We hope every parent and child enjoys this magic during the Season of Giving.

But Christmas morning boo-boos can put a damper on the day. To make sure all your holiday memories are merry and bright, we offer our top nine tips on keeping the holiday safe for every member of the family.

What to know before you shop:

1. Follow recommendations. Toy packaging usually clearly states the appropriate age range and often describes safe use. Let this be your guide as you shop for young ones.

2. Beware of projectiles! We’ve all heard the famous line from “A Christmas Story” in response to Ralphie’s desire for a BB gun for Christmas: “You’ll shoot your eye out.” There’s an inherent injury risk from toys and games that fire, spring, sling or pop out objects or substances. Since our eyes are vulnerable and delicate, they are most at risk from projectiles. Reserve these toys for responsible older children and always supervise them.

3. Keep batteries and magnets from younger children. Youngsters can easily swallow small magnets and button batteries, which can cause internal injuries. If you can’t avoid them entirely, keep a close eye on children when they’re playing with these toys and teach them that putting things in their mouth is not safe.

4. Think big. Large toys—or toys and games with big parts and pieces—reduce the choking hazard for younger children. One caveat, though, is to avoid jumbo plush toys for very small children, as they can pose a smothering hazard.

5. Emphasize quality. Make sure plastic toys are sturdy and not likely to crack, break or have sharp edges. Stuffed animals or plush toys should be well-made and free of fraying or poor stitching.

6. Keep it chemical-free. While chemistry sets can be highly educational for a curious child, consider the child’s age and abilities before you put one under the tree. Improper use of this educational tool could end up teaching a sad lesson about burns and other injuries. In general, children in their early teens are sophisticated enough to read, comprehend and apply instructions on safely handling chemicals and solutions.

Playtime tips:

1. Monitor children with toys. Even if you’ve carefully selected age-appropriate gifts, young children—particularly age 6 and younger—still need to be supervised with many toys.

2. Promptly discard the wrapping and packaging. We’re not so much concerned with wrapping paper or young ones playing with the boxes, but the large plastic bags and wraps in which many toys are packaged can pose a choking or suffocation risk. Get the plastic out of the family space as soon as the gifts are unwrapped.

3. Minimize screen time. Video games and other electronic devices are hot commodities at Christmas, but we would be remiss in our responsibility for eye safety if we didn’t mention the risks! Too much screen time can contribute to dry eyes, among other uncomfortable conditions. To keep it at bay, set a cap on the amount of time a child spends at a computer, smart phone or gaming system. An hour a day is plenty; after that, it’s smart to get outside for a dose of natural light.

Missouri Eye Institute wishes everyone a happy, healthy holiday season! We’ll be here for you when you need us. Contact us at (800) 383-3831 to schedule a vision correction consultation for yourself or a loved one over the holiday break.


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