bad toys 

By Amy Fendley I spy, with my little... It’s all fun and games, until somebody loses an... Christmas is coming and you’ve heard it all before, right? Now here are the facts about the toys your kids want to see under the tree. Watch out, some of these toys may in fact have the ability to take the tree down. The British Columbia Association of Optometrists has released its pick of toys deemed hazardous to eyes. At the top of the 1998 Dangerous Christmas Toys List is the Kidpower Megablast Rocket Launch System, a rocket that can go through an acoustic ceiling tile. The launch unit allows a child to look down on the rocket when firing and has enough power to destroy an eye. Second on the list is Eagle Force High Flying Choppers and Planes, A-1 Warthog. The high speed propellers of this toy can lacerate an eye. And it is recommended that this toy be played with under adult supervision. The third is the Special Edition Rosie O’Donnell Fling Shot and the Koosh Sploosh Water Flingshot. These toys are advertised as suitable for children as young as four, as "soft toys" but they have hard central cores and the launcher flings ammo more than 15 metres. Another toy on the list is Glitter Girl Deluxe Dress-up, a fake make-up kit with a hard plastic applicator and accessory finger tips with nails that could badly damage an eye. The Pump Action Water Missile is recommended for ages four and up. It’s a hard plastic water rocket with enough power to shatter a glass window pane, or cause severe injury to a child with a direct hit. The BCAO’s top pick for most dangerous toy are any of the toy laser pointers, as they can burn the retina if stared at too long, causing permanent eye damage. Local optometrists Dr. Karen Smith and Dr. Donna Mockler of the Whistler Eye Clinic, give a few toy-choosing hints. One of the ways to minimize the risk of eye injury with toys is to check its recommended age, although this often doesn’t tell the whole story about a toy’s suitability. Smith says that if your child is given a high-risk toy by a friend or relative, parents should discuss with the child the reasons why the toy may not be safe. Adding, "parents should supervise children’s use of all projectile toys and avoid toys with pointed tips and guns that fire discs, pellets or other ammunition. Parents who choose to allow their children to play with any of these high-risk toys must be prepared to accept responsibility." For more information, Smith or Mockler can be contacted at the Whistler Eye Clinic.

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