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Tips for Selecting Safe Gifts for the Holidays

The holidays create an environment ripe for accidental injury. In addition to kitchen fires, road accidents, and slip and fall incidents, there were 150,000 toy-related emergency department-treated injuries to children in 2020. That’s on top of the injuries adults sustain to their eyes over the holidays.

It’s important to be mindful in your holiday shopping for presents, and help prevent accidental pain and suffering caused by gift-giving.

Eye Hazards To Watch For When Purchasing Gifts for Kids

Toys with Sharp Pointed Ends

Anything that has a point small enough to poke into someone’s eye is a hazard. This includes swords, spears and other weapon-like toys that are typically swung or jabbed at another person in the course of play. Skip the fake fencing gear and opt for lightsabers instead if you need to satisfy a young warrior’s taste for battle. Also, consider avoiding toys not meant for fighting but that include skinny objects, such as drum-kit sticks.


The same goes for toys that include projectiles, like darts, arrows, Nerf gun ammunition, or BB or air pellet guns. Don’t forget about items that may be spring-loaded, like a jack in the box or popping “cracker” gifts that explode and could send small objects flying.

Easily Breakable Objects

Toys made of glass or thin plastic can shatter if dropped or thrown, sending shards of dangerous material flying. It’s no fun to end up in the emergency room during what is supposed to be a fun family holiday. So, be sure to shop for sturdy toys that don’t break easily, especially for young children.

Art Supplies

Art equipment and materials can be an amazing gift. But, like with all gifts, make sure you keep these presents age-appropriate. Non-toxic clay, crayons and finger paint sets are safer for little ones than paintbrushes or pencil sets that pose an eye-poking danger.

Selecting Safe Holiday Gifts

For kids, consider items that engage their mind and body:

  • Books about their specific interests.
  • Kits designed for safe activities outdoors.
  • Craft-oriented activities.
  • No-bake recipes for fun in the kitchen.
  • Card games of various types.
  • Puzzles (physical as well as word- or number-based).
  • Accessories like a nice backpack or new sports gear.

For adults, think about consumable gifts, like the following:

  • Tickets to a show, event, game or location like a zoo or aquarium.
  • A paid-for trip or spa-day, or a gift certificate to a salon.
  • Membership in an “of the month” club or a subscription to a meal prep service.
  • Books, magazines or other reading material.
  • Home-baked goodies based on the recipient’s favorite treats.
  • A paid-for service, like home cleaning or dog walking.
  • An offer to babysit, pet-sit or housesit so a couple can take a night off or a vacation.
  • Dinner out at a nice restaurant or a weekend at a B&B.

Gifts specific to eye safety are great, too:

  • For frequent drivers, consider high-quality sunglasses (or clip-on sunshades if the driver wears regular glasses).
  • For sports enthusiasts, present them with goggles, great for bikers and skiers to prevent eye injury.
  • For avid eBook consumers, gift an e-reader with built-in glare protection and audiobook capability.
  • For those who work at a computer all day, think about a gel-based eye pack that can be put into the freezer for cold therapy on tired eyes.

Additional Holiday Eye Safety Tips

In addition to these tips for gift selection, consider after-holiday maintenance and inspection of gifts given to ensure they don’t pose a danger to eye safety.

Explain How To Use the Toy Safely

How to play with a toy properly may not be obvious to a child. Make sure you explain the rules for safe toy use to all children before they begin playing with a new toy.

Provide supervision while playing

If a toy can conceivably cause injury, children should be well supervised during play. If an adult isn’t available, set a time when the child can play supervised and put the toy away until then

Inspect Toys Regularly

Look at toys upon opening and/or assembly to ensure there are no missing or broken parts. Fix or throw away any broken or damaged toys. Don’t forget to check batteries regularly for corrosion or leakage as this can cause severe eye injury if chemicals get in the eyes.

Store all Toys Properly

Toys should always be put securely away after play to avoid risks or falls. When buying gifts for any children who are not your own, consider the other parents who must also find space to store gifts safely.

Keep Toys Separated

Toys meant for older children should be kept out of reach of younger children. Older kids should be well educated on the need to keep dangerous objects away from younger siblings.

Provide Appropriate Eye Protection

When gifting sports equipment, ensure that proper eyewear is also included, and mandate wearing of protection any time your child plays sports.

These tips can help you have a safe and happy holiday without the need for emergency eye care. For more tips on vision care year-round, visit Versant Health.


© 2021 Versant Health Holdco.

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