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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates lasers, have issued a warning to parents about the potential dangers posed by lasers that are mounted on toys. Items such as toy guns that have lasers that can be used for aiming, spinning tops that project lasers as they spin, hand-held lasers used as ‘light-sabers’ in play and lasers that create optical illusions in rooms (i.e. entertainment) have all fallen under the FDA’s warning.
According to the agency, when these toys are operated in an unsafe or uncontrolled manner, the highly-concentrated light from lasers—even those in toys—can be dangerous, causing serious eye injuries and even blindness. And not just to the person using a laser, but to anyone within range of the laser beam.
Lasers create powerful, targeted beams of electromagnetic radiation, which is why they fall under FDA regulation. According to Dan Hewitt, health promotion officer at FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, a laser beam shone directly into a person's eye can injure it in an instant. But most of the time, there is no pain from the injury and vision can deteriorate slowly over time. Eye injuries caused by laser light may go unnoticed, for days and even weeks, and could be permanent.
The concern about the toys with lasers is that most of the people receiving injuries are children playing with the items. Most consumers mistakenly think that because these products are marketed as toys, that they must be safe. And over the past several years, the lasers in these products are being made more powerful than they should be in toys.
The FDA warns never to point or shine a laser directly into someone’s eyes (including animals). They say that the damage from a laser can be even more hazardous than damage caused by looking directly into the sun. They also warn not to shine a laser on a reflective surface. And just as important, when purchasing a laser product, make sure it has a label stating that it complies with 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations) Subchapter J. If it doesn’t, then there is a chance the product may pose a risk to safety.
If your child has received injuries from an unsafe or defective toy, contact an experienced DuPage County personal injury attorney to protect your child’s interests and find out what compensation they may be entitled to because of those injuries.