Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month spotlights how eye-safe toys can help avoid serious eye injuries

With the holidays fast approaching, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society wants to stress the importance of purchasing eye-safe toys when shopping this holiday season. Many children end up in the emergency room with toy-related eye injuries each year, and with December marking Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month, it’s a reminder for Canadians to take proper precaution when considering which toys to give to children.

“With all the excitement during the holidays it’s easy to forget about basic safety, however eye injuries among children are one of the major causes of visual impairment,” says Dr. Phil Hooper, President of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. “That’s why eye care professionals recommend avoiding toys that pose a high risk of eye injuries such as lasers, sharp toys, aerosols like silly string, and flying or projectile toys especially if safety glasses are not worn.”

A survey by the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, in partnership with the Canadian Association of Optometrists, revealed that when it comes to purchasing gifts, only 16 per cent of Canadians report shopping for toys with eye safety in mind. If a child misuses a toy, it has the potential to cause some serious eye injuries, including corneal abrasions, internal ocular bleeding, bruising and, for the more extreme cases, permanent vision loss, chronic pain or even loss of an eye. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors, the only eye care professional that is able to treat severe eye trauma.

In addition to toys, the amount of time children use their new electronics, including video games and iPads/tablets, should also be monitored, given the increasing evidence that prolonged screen time increases the risk of myopia (nearsightedness) in children.

The survey also revealed that since the pandemic began, parents report that their children are spending about 4.4 hours in front of a screen on average, which is 1.2 hours more than they did prior to the pandemic. Three-in-five parents whose child(ren)’s COVID screen time is greater than pre-COVID feel that this increased screen time has negatively impacted their child(ren)’s eye health. Findings from the survey also demonstrate the importance of creating a National Vision Health Strategy to educate Canadians on eye health care.

To help prevent eye injury in children, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society outlines some safe toy purchasing tips Canadians should keep in mind this holiday season:

  • Be sure to confirm the toy is age-appropriate
  • Avoid certain toys that pose a high risk of eye injuries such as toy guns, lasers, aerosols like silly string, flying toys and long, pointy toys such as swords
  • Show children how to properly play with the toys in a safe manner
  • Keep toys that pose a potential eye injury risk away from children unless supervised by an adult
  • Include protective eyewear when giving sports equipment
  • Find out if the packaging has been inspected and approved by the proper regulatory bodies, including the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

To learn more about eye injuries, including its diagnosis and treatment, visit

About Canadian Ophthalmological Society

The Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) is the national, recognized authority on eye and vision care in Canada. As eye physicians and surgeons, we are committed to assuring the provision of optimal medical and surgical eye care for all Canadians by promoting excellence in ophthalmology and by providing services to support our members in practice. Our membership includes over 900 ophthalmologists and 200 ophthalmology residents. We work collaboratively with government, other national and international specialty societies, our academic communities (ACUPO), our provincial partners and affiliates and other eye care professionals and patient groups to advocate for health policy in Canada in the area of eye and vision health. The COS is an accredited, award-winning provider of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and is an affiliate of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). For more information, visit

About the Survey

An online survey of 2003 Canadians aged 18+ was completed between June 10 and June 21, 2022, using Leger’s online panel. No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample (i.e., a web panel in this case). For comparative purposes, though, a probability sample of 2003 respondents would have a margin of error of ±2.2%, 19 times out of 20. Leger’s online panel has approximately 400,000 members nationally and has a retention rate of 90%.

SOURCE Canadian Ophthalmological Society

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