As parents, we naturally want to protect our children from harm. Young children can be very inquisitive and unpredictable and at times the risk of an accidental injury is high.
Thankfully most childhood spills and knocks result in little more than injured pride and a few tears but sometimes more serious injuries occur. Eye injuries unfortunately are among the more common types of injury seen in young children.
Every year, thousands of young children have accidents that cause eye injury. About half of these happen at home or during sporting activities.
Many of these injuries cause sight damage or even blindness. Over 90% of eye injuries seen at hospital emergencies result from carelessness and lack of attention and most are so easily avoidable.
No matter how careful you are as a parent, you can’t supervise a child every split second and you can’t keep them wrapped in cotton wool. Reducing risks to a child’s eye safety is all about recognizing and avoiding potential eye hazards.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology over 40% percent of childhood eye injuries occur during sports or recreational activities. Among the more common findings:
– Baseball is the number one cause of sports-related injuries for 5 to 14-year-olds.
– Basketball is the most common cause of eye injuries for 15 to 24-year-olds. Most injuries come from contact with fingers and elbows.
At home, the most common causes of eye injuries to children include:
– Accidents with sharp toys and objects such as forks, knives, and pencils. Even a rubber band or a paperclip can be dangerous at times.
– Injury from harmful household chemicals and cleaners. Alkaline-based cleaners such as dishwasher detergents can be particularly nasty to eyes.
– Falls from stairs and furniture or when playing with toys.
– Yard accidents such as stones and debris thrown up by lawn mowing or hammering.
There are many simple steps you can take as a parent to prevent most eye injuries:
Make sure your child wears proper eye protection when playing sport. It’s especially important if your child already has poor vision in one or both eyes.
Eye protectors with polycarbonate safety lenses should be worn for active sports such as baseball, basketball, and hockey among many.
At home or in the yard it’s vital to keep cleaners and other harmful chemicals stored securely out of your child’s reach. Keep children out of areas where lawnmowers or other powered equipment is being used.
High-speed debris thrown up and hitting an eye can cause major damage. Make sure there are no sharp edges on benches or around play areas and keep all sharp or pointed objects and toys out of young hands.
if you suspect an eye injury to a child seeks medical help urgently. A penetrating injury or a direct hit to the eyeball can severely damage the inside of an eye even when there is no evidence of external injury.
As well as being watchful, it’s just as important to set your child a good example. Using protective eyewear yourself when working with tools and power equipment is an excellent way to teach children the value of eye safety. Help keep your child safe and make sure they can see long into the future!