September is right around the corner, which means goodbye summertime and hello to a new school year! As we bid farewell to August, it’s important to reflect back on the important lessons we learned from this year’s National Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Feel confident sending your kids back to Celebree School with these five tips on protecting your child’s eye health this year.
1. Be Mindful of Safety in the Home
Whether you’re a first-time parent or a seasoned pro, childproofing your home is the first step in protecting your child’s eye health. Safety is our first priority at Celebree, and these simple reminders can keep your kiddo protected both in the classroom and at home.
- Make sure sharp objects are put away or out of reach. As you know, kids will get into anything and everything, so make sure to store any harmful objects in a place where your child can’t reach them.
- Remember to store chemicals and cleaners where children can’t access them. A straightforward reminder, but an important one! Be sure to lock anything, from nail polish remover to toilet cleaner, away after you’re done using it. You want to avoid chemicals getting in your kid’s eyes or mouths at all costs.
- Make sure there are handrails on the staircases. If there are stairs without railings in your home, make sure to block off access with a gate. Even for staircases with railings, make sure to accompany your child as they go up and down to eliminate potential falls.
It can be fun to make a visual schedule with magnets for the fridge with the children. They can write words, draw pictures, or snap and print a photo of waking up, brushing teeth, breakfast, car ride to school, and the reverse in the evening. Parents can then either have a picture of sun, moon, or an analog or digital clock time that parents need these things to happen. Children being able to put a smiley face or a big green check mark next to them on the fridge will reinforce the expectation and encourage compliance.
2. Know What to Do in Case of Injury
Unfortunately, accidents happen, and injuries can’t always be prevented. Whether it’s a minor eye irritation or a more serious infection, knowing what to do in these instances can better prepare you when the time comes.
Sand or dust in the eye
Summer beach days may be limited as school approaches, but there are always sandboxes to consider too! It’s important to know what to do if stubborn sand or dust particles make their way into your child’s eye. First, make sure both your hands and your child’s hands are clean. Keep them from rubbing their eyes, and have them blink to try and work the sand or dust out. For a little added help, gently press a warm washcloth on the eyes and work it out with water. If the irritation persists or your child develops pink eye, use a kid-friendly eye drop solution to alleviate redness and discomfort.
Swollen or bruised eye
Generally, a bruise around the eye from a fall or accident doesn’t require extensive treatment. Before touching the eye, make sure you wash your hands with soap and warm water. Apply a combination of a cold and warm press, and monitor your child as the bruise heals. Make sure there are no irregularities with pupil size or their behavior; chances are they’ll be good as new in no time!
Cuts near the eye or on the eyelid
For a cut near or on the eyelid, make sure your hands are clean and use a sterile cloth to stop any bleeding. Clean the cut or scrape and dress it with a bandaid while it heals. If the cut is more serious, visit your doctor or the emergency room for immediate care.
Like we said, accidents happen, and you may run into a more serious issue like chemicals in the eye. In these instances, keep calm, make sure your hands are clean, and keep your child from touching or rubbing their eyes. Rinse the eyes immediately and seek professional medical attention.
3. Give Your Child’s Eyes a Break
With the digital age, a new concern for children’s eye heath is the effects of screens such as iPads, tablets, and mobile phones. Studies suggest that children who play video games are more likely to have vision problems than children who do not. One major reason being that children tend to hold their devices too close to their eyes.
An easy way to check if your child’s device is too close to their eyes is the Harmon distance – the distance from your chin to your elbow. Ensure the device is always at least an elbow’s length away. The same goes for reading and writing; make sure your child is using good posture and maintaining the Harmon distance for these close-up activities.
Additionally, when looking at any screen for long periods of time, follow the 20-20-20 rule; take a break every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, by looking at something 20 feet away.
4. Be Aware of the Warning Signs
Depending on how old your child is, it can be hard to tell if they’re experiencing eye discomfort or struggling with their vision. If they’ve not expressed concern verbally, be cognizant of these common warning signs:
- Constant rubbing
- Blinking often
- Holds objects or books too close to the face
- Complaining of eye pain
Schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician or eye doctor if you feel any of these habits persist.
5. Get Your Childs’s Eyes Checked
The start of a new school year is the perfect time to schedule a trip to the eye doctor. Kids should have their eyes checked as early as six months to a year old; these appointments are important whether it’s a visit to check on basic reflexes and functions, or if you feel they’re struggling with their eyesight.
Should your child needs eye correction, ask your doctor what form of eyewear they recommend for their age and maturity. If your child is old enough for contact lenses, make sure their optometrist explains the correct way to take contacts out. Remind them that contact lenses are very grown up, and putting them in and taking them out requires a clean and healthy routine. Whether you walk out empty-handed or with a new prescription, it’s always good to go in for a routine check-up before the school year.
Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, and it’s our mission to make your life a little easier. As we near the end of National Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, we hope these four tips can help protect your kids and put your mind at ease, both at home and in school!