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Thread: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

  1. #1

    Default Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    So I noticed, strangely on my ultra low power garrity flashlight, a warning about the light. Investigating a little more, I found a scarce bit of information on a "blue light hazard" from white LED's (which tend to have high blue wavelentgh peaks). However, all of this is old information, I don't see any medical journal articles, I don't know if modern LED's still have that huge blue spike (they "look" less blue), and I don't know how much is too much.

    Being that my 2 y.o. likes to look at the light frequently and shine it in his face, this is a serious concern to me. Add to that that all I have read says it is more serious for younger people without the yellowed lens from age. So is this something to worry about or pseudoscientific b.s.? Can people point me to some solid, recent information to help me figure this out. Below are the flashlights I have (besides my son's mooing cow light which is very dim incandescent). Would any of you worry about letting your 2 y.o. play with them?

    Maglite MiniMag (Terralux Ministar 5 Extreme w/ Cree {maybe SSC P4 or K2 TFFC})
    Surefire G2 LED (P60L with SSC P4)
    Surefire G2 (P60 Incand)
    Maglite MiniMag LED 3AA (1 Luxeon Star III)
    Maglite Mag-LED 2-D (1 Luxeon Star III)
    Inova X5 (5 x Nichia CS)
    Battery Junction Free LED KeyChain Light
    Arc Premium (Nichia DS)
    Garrity (9 LED)

  2. #2
    Flashaholic kilgor's Avatar
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    Mpr Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    My son is 11 mo. old, but I wouldn't let him play with ANY flashlight until he is old enough to not shine it in his eye, swallow it, open it and swallow the battery, etc.

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    Flashaholic* PhantomPhoton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?



    You ask an interesting question. I really don't know about pediatric interactions with light. I would assume that young children have the natural blink reflex from birth that protects our eyes against damage from visible light including blue. But this is only an assumption.
    I personally wouldn't let a young child play with any high powered light I wouldn't be worried about single 5mm LEDs (except very tiny lights that might find their way into mouths because of course everything must be tasted!)
    If you head over to the reviews section you'll see some spectrographic analyses of various LED lights (and some lasers and incans too) done by Craig of the LED Museum. Some LEDs definitely have much more blue than other wavelengths but I don't think it is the color distribution that would be the major problem. While blue is very hard on the eyes it is the quantity/intessity rather than the ratio that would concern me.
    I wouldn't be concerned with LEDs because they emit blue, so do incan bulbs. I'd be concerned that high power ones emit a lot of light, and poor quality ones emit a lot of blue.
    Neutral white, it's the new black.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Get the SureFire G2 LED, along with a diffused lens from www.flashlightlens.com

    Why?
    . LEDs will nto break when subjected to impact like incans.
    . Plastic body of the G2 will not have any potential sharp/rough machining edges like the metal lights.
    . SureFire lights are tough so you know it wont break from abuse or accidents, and even if it did SureFire has a lifetime warranty.
    . The diffused lens will produce a much smoother softer beam thus reducing the chance of your child damaging his eyes.

    Still, safety for a toddler is always important. If you think that there might be any potential hazard, better not give him any of these types of lights to play with.
    Instead, get one of those light cubes, of battery operated small area lights to play with.
    Last edited by magic_elf; 01-11-2008 at 09:13 PM.

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Quote Originally Posted by slagell View Post
    Can people point me to some solid, recent information to help me figure this out. Below are the flashlights I have (besides my son's mooing cow light which is very dim incandescent). Would any of you worry about letting your 2 y.o. play with them?
    I can't point you to any recent info, but we have small children at home and I can tell you the mooing cow is the right light for your small one. I would NOT let him play with a G2, diffused beam or not (think HOT light on hidden under a pillow...).

    We taught our littlest to not shine any light into his eyes, and he also learned that my lights are not for him to play with. The brightest we let him use when he was younger was a minimag 2AA with a Nite-Ize drop-in.

    Now that he knows for sure not to shine a light into his (or other people's) eyes, I'll let him use my brighter lights. When we do this, I keep a close eye on him.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Quote Originally Posted by kilgor View Post
    My son is 11 mo. old, but I wouldn't let him play with ANY flashlight until he is old enough to not shine it in his eye, swallow it, open it and swallow the battery, etc.
    He doesn't really eat non-food things and he hasn't tried to take it apart. He just loves lights. He is always turning on/off lamps, booklights, flashlights, etc. And it isn't like he just holds them shining in his eyes. HE just is not careful about shining it in his eyes, and he is curious and does it frequently.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* MikeLip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Fisher-Price used to make a flashlight that was pretty much indestructible, and which tapered itself off after a few minutes. I loved it. But my daughter took it away from me

    NRA Life Member since 1979

  8. #8

    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED View Post
    I can't point you to any recent info, but we have small children at home and I can tell you the mooing cow is the right light for your small one. I would NOT let him play with a G2, diffused beam or not (think HOT light on hidden under a pillow...).

    We taught our littlest to not shine any light into his eyes, and he also learned that my lights are not for him to play with. The brightest we let him use when he was younger was a minimag 2AA with a Nite-Ize drop-in.

    Now that he knows for sure not to shine a light into his (or other people's) eyes, I'll let him use my brighter lights. When we do this, I keep a close eye on him.
    I don't let him take them to bed or anything, but I have flashlights in the kitchen drawer or my nightstand where he gets into them. He knows where they are and gets them from time to time to play with. Maybe I should just put them up higher (except for that 9 led garrity and the cow). THe Nite-Ize idea is nice because it would last a long time on a single pair of cells, and it isn't that bright. Maybe I will do that with AAA minimag.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    GreenLED, the SureFire P60L has thermal protection built in which reduces output relative to its temperature.
    Also, the plastic body of the G2 will not conduct head from the P60L module to the outer body.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic kilgor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Quote Originally Posted by slagell View Post
    He doesn't really eat non-food things and he hasn't tried to take it apart. He just loves lights. He is always turning on/off lamps, booklights, flashlights, etc. And it isn't like he just holds them shining in his eyes. HE just is not careful about shining it in his eyes, and he is curious and does it frequently.
    My kid has a large toy flashlight that has several colored 5mm LEDs behind a thick plastic diffuser. Would that satisfy his current flashlight interest?

    Or maybe something like this?


  11. #11

    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Quote Originally Posted by magic_elf View Post
    GreenLED, the SureFire P60L has thermal protection built in which reduces output relative to its temperature.
    Also, the plastic body of the G2 will not conduct head from the P60L module to the outer body.
    Mine has an aluminum head that warns about heat. I think the earlier G2 LED's had a plastic bezel, but it quickly reduced output due to thermal issues.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Quote Originally Posted by kilgor View Post
    My kid has a large toy flashlight that has several colored 5mm LEDs behind a thick plastic diffuser. Would that satisfy his current flashlight interest?

    Or maybe something like this?
    He sure loves elmo! Where do I get one of those?

  13. #13
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    slagell, I forgot to mention, you have to find a way to secure the head of the minimag. They learn quickly to unscrew the head, and you know where the drop-in is going next...

    In my parental opinion, the G2 and other high-powered lights are not toys. YMMV, of course.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic kilgor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Quote Originally Posted by slagell View Post
    He sure loves elmo! Where do I get one of those?
    http://www.fisher-price.com/us/produ...ct.asp?id=6217

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    *Flashaholic* Marduke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED View Post
    slagell, I forgot to mention, you have to find a way to secure the head of the minimag. They learn quickly to unscrew the head, and you know where the drop-in is going next...

    In my parental opinion, the G2 and other high-powered lights are not toys. YMMV, of course.
    Blue loctite.

    Use a bunch. If you want it off later, boil it in a bag.

    Then again, I suppose that stuff could be toxic...

  17. #17

    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    I have a young daughter who is nearly 2 years old aswell. I personally would never let her play with any of my lights even the dim leds without me being a hand length away to make sure she dosnt shine it in her eyes. I have seen young kids her age looking into bright lights (flashlights included) and they dont blink or look away. They just keep on staring into the light.( yes, thats correct no blinking no looking away, just staring like a stunned rabbit or dear) Now Im no expert but surely u have some kind of Gut feeling or instinct that this cant be good. Why wait for a so called experts opinion when it may already be too late. Now these lights that the toddlers looked into, If any adult including myself did the same we would be forced to blink or look away..its just too painful and dosnt feel like a natural thing to be doing. sure you can force yourself to keep your eyes open and stare.......but at what cummulative cost to your eyesight or worse, your young childs.

    p.s. sorry if this comes across as a rant/rave.......just please be careful people about your young children and what lights you give them. I fully agree with previous posters about the proper understanding and knowing not to point it into their own eyes or someone elses. This might sound corny but maybe its almost like firearm safety, with the power available in some of these tiny light today
    Last edited by Rat6P; 01-12-2008 at 06:35 AM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    My wife tells me that all kids of this age like flashlights, but I call my 2 year old daughter "my little flashoholic"

    She has three flashlights, one I gave her, the other two she stole from me. A Garrity 3AAA "moon beam" light, a really old Dorcy Cool Blue, and one other I haven't seen in a while and can't remember what it is...

    She mostly plays with the cats with them or randomly looks for "stuff" around the house, under the couch, etc.. The whole saying saying "where'd it go??" but no idea what she's looking for, if anything.

    HOWEVER. If I leave my pants where she can get into them, she steals MY lights in a second. I had to hunt for my P2D for an hour one day, and she loves playing with my Arc AAA in the tub.

    I sometimes let her drag the 4D around too, but that's just mean.
    4Sevens Quark 123 R2, Fenix Tk10, NiteCore Defender Q5, Fenix P2D CE (P4) Natural, Fenix L0D Q4 (Copper??), Surefire E1e with McLux head and Luxeon 3, Black 4D Mag with TerraLux SSC Drop-in, Deep Purple Mag AA with TerraLux 1W UV Cree, Arc AAA

  19. #19

    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Khaytsus View Post
    My wife tells me that all kids of this age like flashlights, but I call my 2 year old daughter "my little flashoholic"

    She has three flashlights, one I gave her, the other two she stole from me. A Garrity 3AAA "moon beam" light, a really old Dorcy Cool Blue, and one other I haven't seen in a while and can't remember what it is...
    Mine has inherited two older Fenixes, and L1P and L1S. She also has regular access to 3 PAL Survival lights, my SF U2, and an LEDwave 3W.
    Quote Originally Posted by Khaytsus View Post
    [edit]
    HOWEVER. If I leave my pants where she can get into them, she steals MY lights in a second. I had to hunt for my P2D for an hour one day, and she loves playing with my Arc AAA in the tub.
    Yeah, mine is all over my new lights.

    It seems some folks are overly cautious. I respect that. But I also believe in the freedom to determine the risk/reward balance within our household according to our family's ideas. So far, we haven't felt that the flashlights are hazardous enough to warrant forbiding the child from playing with them.

    Fortunately, I have a job as a laser technologist and plenty of background in the sciences to understand and actually be able to calculate if needed where the danger thresholds are.

    The way I look at is this: We can tolerate occasional glances at the sun without harm. However, lifelong exposure to the sun causes cataracts in some folks, and no harm in others. So there is an unpredictable factor.

    At this point, I doubt LED lights can produce the 32000-100000lux typical of sunlight on any surface. We are getting close though. That is why I am not too worried about my toddler playing with 1W LED lights. The new Cree WC Q5 and Rebel lights however are at a new level, and so I am a bit more cautious with them.

    Our toddler rarely stares at the lights, and when she does look at the business end it's at an angle rather than down the barrel. I reprimand her and temporarily confiscate lights when she points them directly at our eyes/faces, or hers. She seems to be getting the hang of proper usage. Toddlers aren't incapable of learning. They just need lots of repetition.

    I am confident that there is no way any of these LEDs can produce retinal damage at their current output levels, but perhaps they could cause temporary flash-blindness. But the eyes can deal with that, as evidenced by the fact that we always fully recover from glances at the sun.

    Regarding the blue light peak from white LEDs, or blue LEDs in general, I also don't worry much. Spend a day at the beach, and you have irradiated your corneas with more joules of violet, UVA, and UVB than an LED can ever deliver. Of course, an LED doesn't deliver these at all, but produces only into the deep blue/near-violet. You can actually see a haze from corneal (or perhaps your lens') fluorescence when looking at UV lights or even 405nm LEDs. Yet this short wavelength range the white LEDs don't reach. Thus, I don't worry about this either. A few glances a day are just not going to come near to the exposure that some time in the sun produces.

    Now the HID lights are another story. Due to the shorter wavelength spectral emissions, and the intense brightness of the arc (luminance is now approaching or exceeding that of the sun) I won't allow my kid to even glance at these.

    Finally, let me describe what a laser eye exam (or retinal examination for laser induced damage) is like.

    The ophthalmologist takes a really bright inspection light and shines it into your eye after dilating the pupils. The light is so bright and covers so much retinal area that it is simply excruciating (yes, I mean physically painful) and you have to force yourself to refrain from closing your eyes (resisting the blink reflex) while your whole body is shuddering in the chair from all the reflexes to escape and the pain in your eye.

    The eye can apparently take that without harm.

    So I would advise not worrying much about 5mm LED lights, and the older generation of LEDs. I am growing cautious about the new LEDs, but not to the point of forbiding my kid to get her hands on them. It depends on the kid. Mine doesn't stare into the lights. But I won't leave here with the new LEDs unsupervised. The old Fenix L1P and similar powered lights, well, good luck getting it from her without a fight!

    Now she packs a Fenix L1P in her pocket everywhere she goes!
    ________
    Good day!

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* LEDninja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeLip View Post
    Fisher-Price used to make a flashlight that was pretty much indestructible, and which tapered itself off after a few minutes. I loved it. But my daughter took it away from me
    Is this it?
    http://www.hasbro.com/default.cfm?pa...roduct_id=8548

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* thermal guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    What ever you do never give your toddler a bright lithium flashlight. Please! Something like a G2 is way to bright and if you don't do something to make sure your little one cant get the battery out you could be in trouble.First they could put the battery in there mouth or it might find its way in to the toilet. lithiums don't like water.My twins get low power led lights with tread lock on the battery compartment so they cant get them out Oh and go with AA batteries, trust me
    If i had one day left to live i would want to be at my workplace.Because every day is like a frickin eternity.

  22. #22
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    I'm surprised that there's so much worry about the dangers flashlights pose to kids. Perhaps that's the way now but I have a question - If flashlights put out eyes then how will you protect a child from the sun? What if he looks at it?

    Perhaps a helmet (you can't be too safe) with integrated welding goggles?

  23. #23
    Flashaholic kilgor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spalding View Post
    I'm surprised that there's so much worry about the dangers flashlights pose to kids. Perhaps that's the way now but I have a question - If flashlights put out eyes then how will you protect a child from the sun? What if he looks at it?

    Perhaps a helmet (you can't be too safe) with integrated welding goggles?
    Nope, I'll just get a tinted bubble for him to live in instead of a clear one.

  24. #24
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Remember all the flashlight explosion reports? Overdischarge causes 123 cells to "vent with flame". Lithium primaries and li-ion cells pack a lot of energy, and they can be dangerous if not properly handled. That is my primary concern.

    By now I now have no problem handing a Fenix T1 onto our toddler, but I keep a close eye on what they're up to. When he was younger, however, the only light I'd give them would be "dimmer" LED lights.

    I'm with Xe54 on showing little kids how to properly handle flashlights like any other tool we commonly use at home. Ultimately, it's up to the parents to decide whether their kids are ready for whatever. However, as a fellow parent I also feel a bit of responsibility to warn others about the potential dangers of high-powered lights.

    Toodles!

  25. #25

    Default Re: Are LED's Safe for my toddler's flashlights?

    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED View Post
    Remember all the flashlight explosion reports? Overdischarge causes 123 cells to "vent with flame". Lithium primaries and li-ion cells pack a lot of energy, and they can be dangerous if not properly handled. That is my primary concern.
    Lithium also worries me. Hech, I had a hard time deciding whether to put a 1.5V Li Energizer in my wife's purse L1S just for fear of the remote possibility that it might pop. Ultimately in that case I decided in favor of maximum lifetime vs. the risk, which is probably smaller for a single cell than for two where one can get reverse voltage (though I expect if the cell voltage collapses and reverses, it doesn't have much Li left anyhow).

    By now I now have no problem handing a Fenix T1 onto our toddler, but I keep a close eye on what they're up to. When he was younger, however, the only light I'd give them would be "dimmer" LED lights.

    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED View Post
    I'm with Xe54 on showing little kids how to properly handle flashlights like any other tool we commonly use at home. Ultimately, it's up to the parents to decide whether their kids are ready for whatever. However, as a fellow parent I also feel a bit of responsibility to warn others about the potential dangers of high-powered lights.
    Toodles!
    Well we have at least two Li-powered lights within her reach (the utility/standby lights for the hall and living room), but she is taught that they are "dada's". So she doesn't seem to have a habit of playing with those. I don't mind letting her have L1P/L1S with a NiMH of high quality (Eneloop/Sanyo) in terms of battery safety. I stay away from anything but high quality NiMH and CR123 in general.
    ________
    Good day!

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