Safety Recommendations for Laser Pointers

Every laser can be potentially dangerous if misused or abused. Laser pointers are not toys and should not be used without precaution and safety equipment. Please keep laser pointers away from children. Do not shine the laser at any person or vehicle. Shinning your laser at an aircraft is considered a felony in the United States.

 Laser Pointer Safety Tips

1. Do not allow minors to use a laser pointer unsupervised. Furthermore, only allow adults to use laser pointers after they have understood the responsibilities and risks that it carries.

2. Never shine a laser pointer at anyone, especially their face. Even temporary exposure can cause significant damage to the eye. Laser pointers are designed to point at inanimate objects.

3. Always be conscious of where you're pointing. Avoid pointing a laser at any reflective surfaces. Unintentionally reflected beams can easily violate tip #2.

4. Never use your laser pointer in the vicinity of airports, highways, construction sites or anywhere individuals need to constantly pay attention to their work for their own safety. A split-second distraction--a sudden laser light in a plane cockpit, for example--can be disastrous.

5. Be especially cautious around high-powered lasers, like green laser pointers used for stargazing. They are far stronger than the red pointers commonly used during lectures. And do not purchase a laser pointer at all if it does not identify its class or power.

Do not purchase a laser pointer if it does not have a caution or danger sticker on it identifying its class. Report suspicious devices to the FDA

                                      FDA Issues Warning on Misuse of Laser Pointers
The Food and Drug Administration is warning parents and school officials about the possibility of eye damage to children from hand-held laser pointers. These products are generally safe when used as intended by teachers and lecturers to highlight areas on a chart or screen. However, recent price reductions have led to promotion and use of these products as children's toys.
The light energy that pointers can aim into the eye can be more damaging than staring directly into the sun. Federal law requires a warning on the product label about this potential hazard to the eyes.
" These laser pointers are not toys. Parents should treat them with appropriate care," said FDA Lead Deputy Commissioner Michael A Friedman, M.D. "They are useful tools for adults that should be used by children only with adequate supervision." The FDA's warning is prompted by two anecdotal reports it has received of eye injury from laser pointers -- one from a parent, the other from an ophthalmologist. Momentary exposure from a laser pointer, such as might occur from an inadvertent sweep of the light across a person's eyes, causes only temporary flash blindness. However, even this can be dangerous if the exposed person is engaged in a vision-critical activity such as driving. 

                                                                                                          In Summar
As a general concept, owning a laser is pretty fun. We once had fun watching a cat chase the laser point all over the garden. Being able to point out start or other objects clearly and easily is really helpful. But, lasers are definitely not toys and should be treated like one treats a sharp knife. Bottom line, you are well advised to read up on the legality of buying and owning lasers and where and how you can use them. Used safely and properly, they can be educational and fun. Used improperly, they can seriously injure people's eyes and even land you with a big fine or in jail.