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Toy guns can cause serious and even blinding eye injuries

“You’ll shoot your eye out.” We’re all familiar with that line from the iconic holiday movie A Christmas Story in response to the leading character’s repeated requests for a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas.

However, many children do suffer serious eye injuries and sometimes even blindness due to accidents with toy guns. One study found that between 2010 and 2012, there was a 500 percent increase in eye trauma among children that was caused by pellet and airsoft guns.

However, even foam dart guns and slingshots can cause serious eye injuries. When foreign objects are propelled into the sensitive tissue of children’s eyes, they can cause anything from cornea scratches to more severe injuries such as retinal detachment and eyeball rupture that can cause blindness.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that parents avoid buying guns (or any toys) that have sharp, projectile or protruding parts. These include BB guns, paintball guns and airsoft guns. They also caution parents to look at the recommended age for toy guns and any toys before purchasing them for a child.

Of course, if you’ve already bought your son or daughter a much-wished-for toy gun for Christmas or Hanukkah and you sense that they will be unwilling to part with it, there are precautions you can take to help ensure their eye safety:

— Supervise them when they’re playing with the toy.

— Ensure that they wear protective, shatterproof eyewear with lenses made from polycarbonate.

— Keep these toys out of the reach of younger children for whom they aren’t designed.

It’s essential to seek medical treatment immediately if your child suffers an eye injury. It’s important for a trained ophthalmologist to access the injury, even if it seems minor. You can’t always determine what damage may have been caused within the eye.

If you believe that the toy malfunctioned, did not include proper precautions and warnings or should not be marketed to children, it may be worthwhile to find out what your legal options are. You could well be helping protect other children by taking action.

Source: UCLA Health, “Spike in eye injuries from toy guns prompts holiday caution,” Dec. 12, 2016

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