There’s always so much to think about when it comes to giving gifts to small children at Christmas.
Will it make a mess?
Will it be noisy?
Will it be so horrendously annoying that next year the parents will give it back to me in the same wrapping paper so I can see how it feels to live with it?
But what if some of the gifts we give without a second thought could actually be hurting our children if used incorrectly? What if a certain toy could in fact have the ability to permanently damage a child’s eyesight?
With so many toys on the market and so many strict rules and regulations for toys out there these days, you might not even think to check if a toy was safe – you’d just assume it. But what if a device originally meant for other purposes has found its way onto children’s wish lists this Christmas?
I’m talking laser pens.
At home, we use laser pens with the kitties. They love chasing the little light around the room trying to catch it, (and I love watching them, more to the point), but in the hands of small children these devices could easily be dangerous if pointed into each others eyes. I’ve never really thought about this before and wouldn’t necessarily think to hide or move a laser pen if I knew someone with small children was coming to visit.
RoSPA is running a campaign at the moment which focuses on the risks of children using laser pens. RoSPA does so much amazing work when it comes to safety in the home and this is yet another great example – how many of us are properly aware of the dangers of laser pens and how a simple mistake could change a child’s life forever?
Consultant Ophthalmologist Fahd Quhill spoke to RoSPA about his experiences with treating injuries from laser pens.
“A few years ago, a patient of mine – a young child – was left with the vision of a 60-year-old because of a handheld laser pointer. At the time I didn’t believe that a ‘toy’ could do so much damage, but when the offending device was tested, we found that its power output was actually 40-50 times greater than the recommended level.”
That’s shocking isn’t it?
And he’s not alone. The Ophthalmologist surveyed 153 ophthalmologists and found that 54 had seen at least one patient who had been injured due to laser pens, showing that these aren’t just freak accidents but are actually a regular occurrence in the home, where one slip of the hand while playing can result in sometimes irreparable damage.
Were you planning on giving a laser pointer as a gift to a child this Christmas? Will you be reconsidering now you’ve heard the facts?
Find out more about the dangers of laser pens and how to stay safe this Christmas by visiting the RoSPA website here.