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Monthly Observances December
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December is Safe Toys Month

A Rise in Eye Injuries from Toy Guns Prompts Call for Careful Holiday Shopping
Children’s eye injuries from toy guns have increased by more than 500 percent in recent years, a recent study shows. With the toy-shopping frenzy in full swing, the Arkansas Ophthalmological Society and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are urging parents to avoid buying toys that can cause serious eye injuries and even blindness in children.

Overall, 251,800 children under the age of 12 were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for toy-related injuries last year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.i  In terms of eye injuries, research from Stanford University shows that those caused by toy guns are on the rise.ii

A 2015 study found eye trauma from airsoft guns and pellet guns increased more than 500 percent in kids between 2010 and 2012. Commonly reported eye injuries included
corneal abrasions, which are scratches on the front of the eye, and hyphema, a pooling of blood in the front of the eye. More severe trauma that can end in blindness includes retinal detachment and rupture of the eyeball.

But, not all toys have to shoot bullets to harm a child's eyes. Foam dart guns, slingshots, and even drones can also pose a danger to children's vision. The Academy encourages parents to keep in mind the following when purchasing toys this holiday season:
  • Avoid purchasing toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts such as airsoft guns, BB guns, and paintball guns. They can propel foreign objects into the sensitive tissue of the eye.
  • For laser toys, look for labels that include a compliance statement with 21 CFR Subchapter J. This ensures the product meets the Code of Federal Regulations requirements for laser products, including power limitations.
  • When giving sports equipment, provide children with the appropriate protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses. They are shatterproof and less likely than other materials to damage the eye if broken on impact.
  • Check labels for age recommendations to be sure to select gifts that are suited for a child's age and maturity. Also, keep toys that are made for older children away from younger children.
  • Provide appropriate adult supervision to children playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.
For more information on toy safety, see the American Academy of Ophthalmology's toy safety page at or watch the toy safety video.


Toy Injury Report, 2014, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
ii Pediatric eye injuries due to nonpowder guns in the United States, 2002-2012,  Journal of American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, April 2015