The holidays are filled with anticipation of gifts and new toys. When making decisions for selecting new toys, parents need to tell Santa and loved ones to pick eye-safe and age appropriate toys for children.

Santa and parents should avoid toys with pointed or sharp ends and games with pieces that have rough edges. Blocks are great for almost any age as long as corners and edges are blunted to reduce the risk of eye injury. Also, to avoid eye injuries, beware of long-handled toys, like mops, brooms, pony sticks and rakes. Check to make sure that they have rounded handles and watch children under the age of 2 closely with such toys.

Be careful to avoid toys that may be age appropriate for an older child but could be dangerous for a younger child. Always supervise children in situations when they might share an inappropriate toy with a younger sibling.

No matter how much begging and pleading, avoid slingshots, dart guns, BB guns, and arrows for children under 6. The best suggestion is to avoid these toys completely, especially if you have younger children in the house.  The second best suggestion is to supervise any child with these toys.  They have the potential to be harmful and pose a significant threat for vision loss.

Great toys for children are those that stimulate visual development, improve hand-eye coordination and demonstrate spatial relationships (2D and 3D).

Toys for children under age 2 include: brightly colored mobiles, stuffed animals, activity gyms, blocks, balls, stacking and nesting toys, buckets and measuring cups, puzzles, shape sorters and musical toys.

Appropriate and eye-friendly toys for children over age 2 include: child-sized household items like brooms, vacuums, rakes, lawn mowers, refrigerator and stove sets, outside toys like sandboxes, riding toys and backyard gyms and swings.

Magnetic letters, stringing beads, and toy cash registers are particularly good for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Lastly, and probably the most desired gifts, will be some electronic video gadget or game which will result in significant screen time and possibly 3D viewing.  Just remember,  to avoid eye strain, keep all screens at least 14-16 inches away from the eyes and be sure to take periodic breaks; every 20 minutes look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds to relieve focusing.

Finally, realize some toys are simply not safe and may be recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). For a list of toy recalls, call (800) 638-2772 or visit www.cpsc.gov.

If you, your friends, or your family experience eye problems over the holidays please contact our office for our doctor on call in Stillwater at 405-372-1715 or Pawnee at 918-762-2573.  We have a doctor on call 24-7, even on Christmas day!  We also invite you to visit our website at www.cockrelleyecare.com and like us on Facebook at Cockrell Eye Care Center!  Merry

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