Here’s a list of six types of toys you might want to cross off your list when buying gifts for young children. Each has a high potential risk for eye injuries — especially if used by young children without adult supervision and guidance:
1. Guns that shoot ANY type of projectile. This includes toy guns that shoot lightweight, cushy darts. You might think these soft projectiles would pose little or no risk, but toy guns of this type can shoot up to distances of 75 feet, and the darts move at speeds fast enough to cause a serious eye injury — especially when used at close range indoors.
2. Water balloon launchers and water guns.Water balloons can cause serious blunt trauma to the eye that can cause a retinal detachment and permanent vision loss. Even toy guns that shoot a stream of water can cause serious eye damage, especially when used at close range.
3. Games that include toy fishing poles. The end of a toy fishing pole or objects secured to the end of the fishing line can easily end up in a playmate’s eye.
4. Toy wands, swords, sabers or guns with bayonets. There’s really no need to explain why these are a bad idea, right?
5. Aerosol string. The chemicals in these products can cause eye irritation and a type of pink eye called chemical conjunctivitis. When used at close range, aerosol string also can cause a corneal abrasion that could lead to serious eye infections (http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/eye-infections.htm) .
6. Laser pointers and bright flashlights. Though technically not toys, many children love to play “laser tag” or “flashlight tag.” Portable laser pointers, like those used for business presentations, should never be used by children, as the light intensity of these devices is sufficient to cause permanent vision loss. Even high-powered LED flashlights can be dangerous, because they can cause temporary blindness, putting children at risk of a fall or other accident.