Kids love toys they can throw at a target, so darts might seem like a natural as a fun kid's toy. But darts can be a high-risk toy, even if you skip the pointed metal tip darts and go for the magnetic, velcro or suction cup sets. If you do buy a child's dart set, follow the manufacturer's instructions for use carefully and throw out any pieces that look like they might be pulled apart of break off. Teach children safety rules and supervise them when playing with darts, even non-metal ones.
Metal darts can cause serious face injuries, particularly eye injuries. Plastic darts can also cause eye injuries if the feathers attached to the dart or other protruding pieces hit the eye. Traumatic eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in one eye in children outside of congenital blindness, according to a German study published in the 2000 issue of "Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology." Penetrating injuries to the eye can cause permanent vision loss even if promptly treated.
Magnetic darts can be particularly problematic for children. The magnets can detach from the dart and cause severe intestinal damage if your child swallows several of them. Magnets can attract each other and stick together in the intestines, causing perforation, infection or intestinal blockages that require surgical repair. Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal and fever; seek treatment as soon as possible to minimize the dangers. Deaths have occurred in children who swallow multiple magnets.
Many children's dart sets are inexpensive and poorly made. Balls covered with velcro can present a choking hazard if the velcro comes off. Plastic darts with suction cups can also come apart, presenting a choking hazard. In 2009, the European Commission banned a plastic dart that was small enough to be swallowed. Children under age 3 should not play with darts that contain small parts of that have parts that could come loose.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission banned lawn darts from sales in the United States in 1988. Lawn darts are larger than indoor darts; they were banned because several children suffered skull fractures, brain injury or in rare cases, death. If you have a lawn dart set that uses metal darts, get rid of it.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: AAP Alerts Pediatricians to Dangers of Magnet Ingestions
- Consumer Reports: CPSC Takes Aim at Another Magnetic Toy
- Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology: Open Globe Injuries in Children
- European Commission: The Rapid Alert System for Non-Food Products (RAPEX)
- Consumer Product Safety Commission: Following Recent Injury CPSC Reissues Warning: Lawn Darts Are Banned and Should Be Destroyed
- Popular Mechanics: Lawn Darts
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