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Safety at Play

Understandably, moms and dads worry about keeping their kids' eyes safe. But it can be hard to know which toys are the safest and most beneficial.

Infants don't have a properly developed visual system at birth, but it becomes more refined over time. There aren't many things that help a child's visual development better than play, which encourages hand-eye coordination and a more concrete understanding of spatial relationships. Good toys for stimulating a baby's vision in their first year of life include mobiles with geometric patterns or colors, and play mats with detachable and changeable objects, puppets and books. Between the ages of 0-3 months, babies can't totally differentiate between colors, so high contrast black and white images of things like shapes and simple patterns are particularly helpful for stimulating visual development.

Since children spend so much time using toys, it is crucial to be sure that their toys are safe for their eyes as well as their overall wellbeing. Firstly, to be safe, a toy should be right for their age group. It is equally important to be sure that the toy is good for their level of development. Despite the fact that toy manufacturers mention targeted age groups on toy packaging, you still need to make the call, so your child avoids playing with anything that could be unsafe.

An excellent toy for lots of age groups is blocks, but for younger children, it's crucial to check that they don't have any sharp or rough parts, to lessen the risk of eye injury. Toy size is another important thing to take note of. With toddlers, a toy that is small enough to fit in their mouth is unsafe. Be on the watch for objects that can be pressed or shaped into a smaller size also. Put that small toy away until your child is older.

Any plush toys should be machine washable, and, for younger children, without any tiny pieces can easily come off, like buttons or ribbons. Avoid toys with edges or any sharp parts for a young child, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, make sure the ends aren't sharp. Always pay attention when they play with those kinds of toys.

If your child is under 6 years old, avoid toys with flying parts, like arrows. Even when they're older than 6, always pay attention with toys like that. Whereas, for teens who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they wear protective eyewear.

So the next time you're considering a gift, pay attention to the age and developmental recommendations on toys. Be certain that toys you buy don't pose any harm to your child.