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Playing Safe

It can be difficult to know which toys are safe for our kids' eyes.

Infants are born with only semi-formed vision. There aren't many things that help a child's visual development more easily than playing, which encourages hand-eye coordination and learning about spatial relationships. In the first three months of life, babies can't totally differentiate between colors, so objects with bold, black and white patterns can be really beneficial.

Because children spend a great deal of time playing with their toys, it is vital to check that their toys are safe for both their overall health, and their vision. Children should play with toys especially created for their specific age group. And it is just as important to check that the toy is suited to their level of development. Despite the fact that companies include targeted age groups on the box, it is up to you to make the call, and not permit your child to play with anything that may lead to eye injury or vision loss.

All soft toys are best if machine washable, and, for younger children, free of very small pieces that can be pulled off, like buttons or ribbons. Don't buy toys with edges or any sharp parts for a young child, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, always make sure the end is rounded. Closely supervise toddlers when they play with those kinds of toys.

If your child is under 6 years old, be wary of toys with flying parts, like arrows. Always pay attention with toys like that. On the other hand, if you have older kids who have chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they wear safety goggles.

So the next time you're thinking about a special gift for your son or daughter, keep in mind the age and developmental recommendations on toys. Be certain that there's no harm posed to your child's eyes - even if they look fun to play with.