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Eye Safety

Child Safety Basics


Updated September 30, 2012

A child wearing safety goggles to protect his eyes.

A child wearing safety goggles to protect his eyes.

Photo (c) 2007 Vincent Iannelli, MD licensed to About.com, Inc.
Although most people think that eye safety is limited to sports, it is important to remember that you need to prevent eye injuries everyday.

Kids most commonly get eye injuries playing sports, but their eyes can also be injured while playing with BB guns or other toys that can fire a projectile, from chemical burns, or simply from the UV rays of the sun if they don't wear sun glasses.

Sports Eye Safety

For most parents, sports eye safety is limited to wearing prescription safety goggles instead of their regular glasses... That is unfortunate, because according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, sports eye injuries affect more than 40,000 people each year and sports are the leading cause of childhood eye injuries. Among the sports that commonly cause eye injuries include:
  • baseball
  • basketball
  • football
  • hockey
Keep in mind that many other sports, including water sports, golf, tennis, and soccer, can also lead to eye injuries.

To be safe, be sure your child is wearing appropriate protective eyewear when playing sports, which typically includes protective goggles or sports eyeguard, a face shield or guard, made of shatter resistant polycarbonate plastic, and not just his regular glasses. A pediatric ophthalmologist can fit your child with protective eyewear, to make sure they fit properly and are comfortable.


In addition to protection from baseballs, basketballs, and flying elbows, you need to protect your child's eyes from the harmful effects of the sun.

Even younger children should wear real sunglasses that filter out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays.

What You Need To Know About Preventing Eye Injuries

  • April is Sports Eye Safety Month when the American Academy of Ophthalmology urges parents to get their kids to wear protective eyewear to prevent eye injuries when playing sports.

  • Wearing protective eyewear is especially important if your child only has one functioning eye.

  • In addition to sunglasses, protect your kids from the sun by having them wear a wide-brimmed hat, staying out of the sun, especially during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and wearing sunscreen if they are over 6 months old.

  • Childproof your home so that your kids don't get into harmful chemicals, cleaners, and other substances that could burn their eyes.

  • Remember that fireworks are an important cause of eye injuries in children.

  • Have your kids wear goggles in the pool so that the pool water doesn't irritate their eyes.

  • Protective eyewear should be made of materials that meet American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.

  • The anti-fog coating on some goggle and eyeguard can help prevent them from getting fogged up when your child is playing.

  • July is UV Safety Month, when the American Academy of Ophthalmology urges parents to get their kids to wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats to protect their eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.


Behrman: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 17th ed.

American Academy of Ophthalmology. Sport Eye Safety Month Talking Points and Appropriate Protective Eyewear Handout

American Academy of Pediatrics. Summer Safety Tips.

Prevent Blindness America Tips for Buying Sports Eye Protectors

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