Outdoor and Sports Safety for Children Who Are Blind or Low Vision

By now, your child probably manages a lot of their personal care activities. That’s typical of most children, both sighted and blind or low vision, as they move toward greater independence and take on added responsibility. Because of your child’s blindness or low vision, there may be additional needs for both of you to consider.

Outdoor Activities

Although most adults recognize the potential danger of too much sun, not all children know it. And the need for protection is even greater for children with albinism. Even if your child isn’t extremely vulnerable to sun exposure, they’ll be safer and healthier developing the following good habits.

  • Putting sunscreen on the face, arms, legs, and any other exposed areas.
  • Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim that shades their face. If your child has low vision, they may be able to see visual details better because there’s less glare.
  • Using a small, light backpack or fanny pack to keep objects used outdoors together. If the pack is located in a handy place near the door, your child is more likely to use its contents regularly.

Changing from regular glasses to sunglasses can be a bother. Consider getting your child clip-on sunglasses or lenses that darken automatically based on the amount of light they’re exposed to.

Sports Activities

You probably want your child to be active but may worry that getting hit on the head or falling might make their eye condition worse.

Here are a few basic sports safety precautions for youngsters who are blind or low vision.

  • Wear a helmet or goggles, or both, to protect their head and eyes.
  • If your child is involved in an organized sport such as softball or gymnastics, visit the playing field or gym to see if there are potential safety hazards.
  • Encourage your child to talk to teammates and coaches about their eye condition. They need to know what they can do to help them be an effective member of the team. For example, calling out their name when the ball is kicked in a soccer game may help keep the ball in play.
  • Check with your child’s eye care specialist before getting involved in a new sport. There may be some restrictions or protective gear that you need to know about. Sometimes the eye care specialist is better at explaining these things to your child than you are. And most children are less likely to argue with an “expert” than with a parent.