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Beware Holiday Toys That Can Injure Young Eyes

Darts, BB and paintball guns are among those that pose a threat, experts warn

MONDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- While concern about lead in toys has attracted a great deal of attention lately, it's just one of the potential dangers that toys may pose to children. For example, some toys can damage children's eyes, warns the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

There were more than 210,000 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2005, and about 6,000 of those involved injuries to the eyes of children under age 15, according to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"The holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness and celebration. A serious eye injury can bring an abrupt end to the celebration. Parents should choose a toy that is appropriate for their child's age, abilities, maturity, and the parent's willingness to supervise use of the toy," Dr. David Coats, clinical correspondent for the AAO and a pediatric ophthalmologist at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, said in a prepared statement.

BB guns, darts, pellet guns and paintball guns are among the toys that pose a threat to the eyes.

"Any toy that can eject or propel an object can lead to a serious eye injury if used incorrectly. This includes innocuous appearing toys such as a popgun or a paddleball set," Coats said.

He also said children who receive sports equipment as gifts should be given protective eyewear.

"If you plan to give sports equipment, provide appropriate protective gear, such as helmets, facemasks or goggles with polycarbonate lenses," Coats said.

More information

Safe Kids USA has more about toy-related injuries.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology, news release, December 2007

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