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All I want for Christmas is some safer toys...

Who can forget that famous scene in 'A Christmas Story' when Ralphie asks the Santa at the mall for an Official Red Rider Air-Rifle, to which the Santa replies, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid." It's a Christmas classic that brings us back to a time when toys had few safety warnings and often times really could take children's eyes out.

But what some parents may not be aware of is the fact that toys today may not be as safe as parents would like them to be. Some toys have even been linked to very serious injuries recently despite the assumption that toys are progressively getting safer for children.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 250,000 toy-related injuries involving children are reported every year. And just like in 'A Christmas Story,' almost half of them affect the head and face. Medical experts warn that toys that shoot projectiles are particularly hazardous "with the potential to propel foreign objects into the sensitive tissue of the eye."

But in some cases, the toy may not be dangerous because of what it can propel at a child's eye; in some cases, it all has to do with the size of the object. Small toys or pieces that can easily become detached from larger toys become choking hazards if small children put these pieces in their mouths.

Although many of these accidents can be preventable, sometimes injuries can occur simply because the toy itself is unsafe. Defective toys, whether they were designed that way or it happened during production, can pose serious risks to children.

In the end, there is nothing stopping our children from asking Santa Claus for a toy that is less than safe, but as parents, we have the choice of whether we allow them to play with these toys.

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology, "Ophthalmologists Caution Parents: Hazardous Toys Are Responsible for Thousands of Eye Injuries Each Year," Dec. 4, 2012

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