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3 Ways to Prevent Children's Eye Injuries This Winter

Kid during winter
By the time the snow falls and your holiday decorations are up, eye injuries might be the last thing on your mind. However, there is a little truth to those old movies where mothers warn their sons about shooting their eye out with new holiday toys. Learn three ways you can protect your kids from wintertime eye injuries.

1. Keep Your Home Well-Lit

One of the most common causes of eye injuries in kids involves children running into furniture or falling down the stairs. During the wintertime, these injuries are especially prevalent since kids spend more time indoors. In addition, the sun goes down earlier, making homes darker earlier each day until the shortest day of the year, which typically falls the third week in December.

However, you may be able to help kids to maintain solid footing indoors by keeping your home well-lit all winter long. When your kids are home, make sure that hallways, entryways, exits, and stair areas are illuminated. Replace burned-out bulbs immediately to prevent dark spots around your home. Dark spots make it more difficult for kids to see furniture, strung cords, or obstacles on the floor.

2. Inspect New Toys Carefully

The non-profit group Prevent Blindness states that toys are a leading cause of blindness in children in the United States, causing thousands of eye injuries every year. Unfortunately, the holidays are a popular time to give gifts, which means that your little one might come across toys that have sharp edges, loose parts, or even fine particulates like glitter that could cause eye injuries.

To keep kids safe, only let them play with toys that are meant for their age group. Additionally, you should inspect new toys carefully to check for any component that could pose risks to eyes. If the toy appears safe and is meant for kids your child's age, you should still supervise play to make sure that your kids remain safe and use the toy appropriately.

You should also keep in mind that children's play sunglasses may not be designed for outdoor use, which could put your little one at risk for eye UV exposure or broken lens injuries. Additionally, parents should supervise kids as they use toys designed to shoot or allow pieces to fly off, since projectiles can pose serious damage to eyes in seconds.

3. Don't Let Children Handle Fireworks

Whether you love to celebrate the dawn of a New Year with firecrackers or you hang onto your fireworks until Chinese New Year, you should never let your children handle fireworks because of the risk they pose to your little one's vision.

Although fireworks pose the most risk to your child's fingers and hands, about 14% of firework-related injuries in children occur to the eyes, potentially damaging your child's ability to see in the future.   

To protect your kids from fireworks, attend large fireworks shows instead of lighting your own off at home. Keep in mind that even fireworks advertised as being kid-friendly, such as poppers and sparklers, can be dangerous since they emit sparks and fine projectiles that could harm the eyes.

Remember, if you or your child is faced with an eye injury, getting help as soon as possible is essential for your health and vision.

Here at the office of Harry W. Chan, OD, you can find help for your eye injuries and ongoing vision problems, helping you to maintain your quality of life. With a focus on preserving eye health, we can help with a wide range of conditions, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. Learn more by visiting our website today.