Eye Safety Tips for the Holiday Season
The bustle and excitement of the holiday season can make it the most wonderful time of year. While preparing for safe and fun holidays, there are a few hazards to be mindful of. As we recognize Safe Toys and Celebrations Month, Fasika Woreta, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Wilmer Eye Institute’s Eye Trauma Center, and Eileen McDonald, M.S., director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy’s Children’s Safety Center, provide tips for celebrating the holidays safely.
- Consider using flameless or battery powered menorahs and other festive candles, as flames can cause thermal burns to the eyes and skin.
- Take precautions while decorating and admiring your Christmas tree, as this holiday essential can come with an overlooked hazard. Be alert around branches and pine needles, especially as you decorate. They can become lodged in your eyes if you fall or walk into them.
- Be careful around glass and pointed ornaments on the tree or around the house. Keep them out of the reach of children.
- Follow the age recommendations for children’s toys. A recent study shows that 96% of parents do not follow age labels and recommendations for toys. These suggestions are based on kids’ developmental abilities at a given age and not on a child’s intelligence. Not following these recommendations can lead to misuse of a toy and potential injury.
- BB, pellet and paintball guns can be hazardous. Provide protective eyeglasses for children using these items. These guns should only be used with adult supervision.
- While toys such as foam-dart-shooting guns might appear safe due to the soft projectiles, they can cause serious eye injury. Instruct children not to aim for the face while playing with these toys, and always supervise them during play.
- While a little bit of the bubbly can be an enjoyable ending to a holiday celebration, the corks in champagne bottles can release at almost 50 mph. The force can be strong enough to cause major damage to the eye. Aim the bottle away from your own or others’ eyes to avoid injury.
- Lighting fireworks is a less common winter holiday activity, but if you are present during these displays, always practice proper eye safety.
- Use proper eye protection from the sun while traveling or while playing outside, particularly in snow. While ultraviolet radiation is generally lower during the winter months, snow reflection can double your exposure to it.
Basic precautions will help keep you and your loved ones safe. Prepare ahead of time, and enjoy the holidays safely!