Bad news Darth Vader, laser toys are more dangerous for kids than we thought.
The Food and Drug Administration released a statement on laser toy safety, concluding that the concentrated light in laser beams deteriorates eyesight -- and can even cause blindness. In particular, children's laser toys concerned the FDA as anyone that comes into contact with the light, directly or indirectly, is at risk.
"Toys with lasers are of particular interest to the FDA because it's often children who are injured by these products," the statement says.
Dan Hewett, health promotion officer at FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, notes that, "because advertisers promote them as playthings, parents and kids alike may believe they're safe to use."
Toys that made the FDA's warning list include:
- Lasers mounted on toy guns that can be used for "aiming"
- Spinning tops that project laser beams while they spin
- Hand-held lasers used during play as "lightsabers"
- Lasers intended for entertainment that create optical effects in an open room
Although the report says that laser beams don't create instantaneous pain, they do cause permanent eye damage and burns over time, even after one-time use.
When buying a laser product, the FDA advises looking for a statement saying that the product complies with 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations) Subchapter J on the label.
"If you buy a laser toy or pointer and you don't see this information in the labeling, it's best not to make any assumptions about its safety," Hewett says.
When using the laser toys, the FDA advises not to shine the light directly at anyone (including animals), but especially someone who is driving or playing a sport.
So, Luke Skywalker might have to ditch the light saber for another toy -- we're hoping daddy Darth understands.