You know what they say: it takes a village to raise a child. This is especially true considering how much attention kids need to keep them safe from everyday accidents. From baby-proofing your home to teaching children how to be safe around strangers, parents have a lot to do to protect their children from the worst, and they could always use an extra hand.

The unfortunate reality is that even with careful attention, kids still manage to get themselves into trouble. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents can have long-term repercussions such as the case below.

Young Boy’s Vision Permanently Damaged

A young Tasmanian boy (whose name has been withheld for privacy’s sake) recently lost 75% of his vision after momentarily pointing a laser pointer towards his eyes. When taken to the optometrist, he was diagnosed with retinal damage; his sight will not likely ever be restored.

“Unfortunately, that’s the area where your detailed central vision takes place and therefore it’s had somewhat of an exaggerated effect on how much sight he’s lost” said Ben Armitage, the boy’s optometrist. (1)

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Since then optometrists have been issuing warnings globally to parents to pay special attention to their children while playing.

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Other Potentially Dangerous Toys

Many other common toys can pose a threat to children’s eye health- many are very surprising to parents. Eye care experts have created a list of the most risky toys for young children; they include (2):

  • Functional toy “guns” (any toy that actually shoots something, including lightweight foam)
  • Games with fishing poles
  • Toy launchers of any kind (ex. for water balloons)
  • Aerosol string (“silly string”)
  • Toy swords, sabers, etc.
  • Bright flashlights and laser pointers

Common eye injuries can range from a scratch on the surface of the eye to corneal ulcers (internal bleeding in eye), or even retinal detachment. (3)

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What Parents Can Do

Parents should familiarize themselves with the list of high-risk toys and feel comfortable saying no to receiving them as gifts from well-meaning friends or relatives. While very young children need special attention throughout the day to be on guard against all kinds of home accidents, even older active children should have chaperones while playing, especially in groups when rowdiness can increase the risk of accidents.

If you have a laser pointer in your home, keep it out of reach of young children and teach older children about the importance of not using it as a toy (for their own sake, other children’s, and pets, too!).

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The Hearty Soul
Health Network
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