No matter how much we strive to make our home as safe as possible for our little ones, accidents at home can still happen – even in the most conscientious of homes. Kids will be kids!
Toddlers and young children are curious by nature, and in many situations, cannot assess the risks that certain actions and objects pose. Their perception of the environment around them is often limited, and their lack of coordination and balance can result in them getting injured. They are, after all, still learning!
Your home is where you and your loved ones should feel the safest. And this is often taken for granted without paying heed to the potential accidents waiting to happen. Many household objects can lead to serious injuries including vision loss, especially in children. Identifying the potential risks is the first step to building a safe environment for your kids to explore and grow in. The second step is taking precautionary measures to reduce eye injuries in kids. Let’s take a look at some common but harmful household products and how to prevent eye injuries.
1 Ammonia-based Cleaning Products
All it takes is one drop! Strong cleaners can accidentally get in the eye, resulting in permanent eye damage or loss of vision. The solution is to avoid the use of ammonia-based cleaning products, especially if you have kids running around the house. But if you must, do not let children play nearby when cleaning, and always store these products safely out of their reach. You can protect your eyes by wearing safety goggles, make sure the area you are cleaning is well-ventilated, and the nozzle of the cleaner is away from your face.
2 Gardening Tools
Gardening is a fun activity the whole family can enjoy. Be observant when your child is around the garden whether helping or playing and make sure stones, debris, and tools are cleared or kept out of their reach. We recommend you and your kids should wear safety eyeglasses or goggles to shield your eyes from dust, debris, sparks, and fumes when working outdoors. You can opt for safety goggles that have anti-dust, and anti-splash features which will protect your kids and yourself from the harmful UV rays and other debris when playing or working in the garden.
3 Unsafe Toys
Ever wondered why toys are often labeled by age groups? That’s because kids need different stimuli at various stages of development and of course for safety’s sake. Children should be habituated to play with age-appropriate toys, as without supervision these items can become very dangerous. Toy guns, action figures, and toys with small parts are at the top of the list of dangerous toys that can harm your kid’s eyes. Be vigilant when buying toys and ensure that your little one is supervised especially when playing with older children.
4 Laser Pointers And Bright Flashlights
Portable laser pointers, like those used for presentations, should never be left unattended by parents. The power from a 1-milliwatt laser when focused onto a single point is as bright as the sun’s surface! Therefore, if misused by a child this seemingly harmless device can turn into something life-threatening. They can cause significant injury to the retina if the laser stays in one spot, even for a few seconds.
5 Penetrating Eye Injuries In Kids
A penetrating eye injury occurs when a foreign body enters or lacerates the eye, resulting in severe and long-lasting effects. These include conjunctival and corneal abrasion, retinal scarring, retinal tears or detachment, and scarring that can lead to cataracts and glaucoma. Penetrating eye injuries in kids are often caused by accidents when playing with friends, participating in sports, or handling things like rubber bands, pencils, toys with sharp edges, and sharp objects. Always ensure that playtime is supervised and sharp objects are not within reach of children.
First Aid For Kids With Eye Injury
In the unfortunate event that your child has an eye injury, visit an ophthalmologist or the emergency room immediately, even if the injury seems minor at first glance. Delaying medical attention can cause the damaged areas to worsen and could result in permanent vision loss or blindness.
While medical help arrives, follow these first aid steps:
- Do not touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye.
- Do not try to remove an object stuck in the eye yourself.
- Do not self-medicate.
- If the eye is exposed to chemicals, flush with plenty of water.
Child Eye Care Tips At Home
Safety comes first! So always be prepared and secure your home to help protect your child from an eye injury.
- Make sure the furniture has no sharp edges, especially in homes with toddlers. Use edge covers or foam padding as protection.
- Don’t use hazardous solvents and chemicals around your child. Opt for safe and natural cleaners instead.
- Invest in sun protection accessories such as sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection, or wide hats to shield your child’s eyes.
- Keep paints, pesticides, and fertilizers stored in a secure area out of reach of children.
- Be careful around small objects such as paper clips, pencils, scissors, and rubber bands. These objects can cause serious eye injuries in kids.
- Let your child play with age-appropriate toys under adult supervision only.
As the old saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” So rather than being reactive, taking proactive measures to prevent injury is absolutely crucial, especially when it is about your child’s eyes.
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