Guns, pistols, and other laser toys often fail to meet safety standards and can expose children to visual damage or loss, according to a study by Dr. Hab. M. Jarosław Młyńczak from Military University of Technology.
Adults are properly trained to use lasers in their professional work and are provided with safety precautions when participating in medical or cosmetic procedures using lasers. On the other hand, young children are usually unaware of the dangers of radiation emitted from toys such as guns, as the lasers act as binoculars or lighting.
Curiosity in children may take precedence over common sense or the natural dislike of bright light. Exposing the eyes for a longer period of time produces visual effects that children may find great fun. Therefore, games with a laser class higher than a “risky” one should be considered – says Dr. Jarosław Młyńczak of the Military University of Technology’s Optoelectronics Institute.
He warns against selling a large number of games in bazaars and street markets without documentation. Manufacturers either do not realize or do not want to be aware of their obligation to classify and label a product that has a higher laser class and is therefore unsafe for the child. Toys must meet relevant safety requirements, and the laser device used in them must meet the technical requirements of Class 1 according to EN 62115 2020 standard.
Dr. Love. M. Młyńczak measured laser radiation from a sight that is part of a seemingly innocuous plastic rifle. The laser game did not comply with the aforementioned standards and guidelines for public health in England. It turned out to be a Class 3R laser, which was defined according to the 2014 EN 60825-1 standard.
The standard requires detailed user instructions, incl. How to protect your eyes when using this equipment. “It’s hard to imagine a few-year-olds reading and following instructions. On the contrary, out of curiosity, children usually try to look directly at the laser beam because of the optical effects it can cause,” says the optoelectronics specialist.
The game I’m testing has gone beyond the radiation emission limits for healthy people with no vision problems. Children with hypersensitivity to laser radiation are particularly exposed to all types of injuries, even when they come in contact with laser radiation which may be safe. In extreme cases, a gaming laser can result in blindness.
Lasers and lasers developed during the past 60 years have proven themselves in many areas of life. Their presence in science, technology and industry determines continuous development and progress. However, there are areas of application where lasers remain unsafe.
The article “Laser Toys Fail to Comply with Safety Standards – A Case Study Based on Classification of Laser Products” (https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/aot-2020-0072/html) was published by the journal Advanced Optical Technologies By de Gruyter. According to the author, the results of his analysis may contribute to reducing the number of accidents among children caused by lasers emitted by seemingly innocuous toys.
PAP – Science in Poland, Karolina Duszczyk
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