A new study has found that eye-related injuries could be prevented in a number of popular sports with the use of simple and comfortable eye protection.

With December being Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month, JAMA Ophthalmology’s the ‘Epidemiology of Sports-Related Eye Injuries’ document has detailed how basketball, baseball, and air guns were the most common causes of injury in young people, accounting for almost half of all primary sports-related eye injuries.

“When giving the gift of sports equipment, Prevent Blindness strongly urges also providing sports eye protection,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “An eyecare professional can provide guidance for the best protection for each sport and athlete.”

Emergency rooms in the US treated 251,800 toy-related injuries, according to the report, and, 44 percent of the injuries were to the head and face area, the area of the body with the most injuries.

An estimated 84,400 of all toy-related injuries, or 34 percent, happened to children younger than five years of age.

Prevent Blindness has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness month and offers additional tips including:

• Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.

• Ask yourself or the parent if the toy is right for the child’s ability and age.

• Consider whether other smaller children may be in the home that may have access to the toy.

• Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.

• Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.

• Look for the letters “ASTM.” This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by ASTM International.

• Don’t give toys with small parts to young children. Young kids tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If any part of a toy can fit in a toilet paper roll, the toy is not appropriate for children under the age of three.

• Do not purchase toys with long strings or cords, especially for infants and very young children as these can become wrapped around a child’s neck.

• Always dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately.

• Magnets, like those found in magnetic building sets and other toys, can be extremely harmful if swallowed. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a child may have swallowed a magnet.

• KidsHealth.org recommends that bicycles, scooters, skateboards, and inline skates should never be used without helmets that meet current safety standards and other recommended safety gear, like hand, wrist and shin guards.

• Read all warnings and instructions on the box.

• Always supervise children and demonstrate to them how to use their toys safely.

For more information on safe toys and gifts for children, visit preventblindness.org/safe-toy-checklist.

Or for more information on sports eye protection and safety, visit preventblindness.org/sports-eye-safety.

About Prevent Blindness
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight.

Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, Prevent Blindness is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America.

For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call 1-800-331-2020. Or, visit us on the Web at preventblindness.org or facebook.com/preventblindness.