The Dangers of Toy GunsInnumerable kinds of toys exists: robots, things that spin and blink, educational toys, stuffed animals, dolls, and even construction sets to build your own toys. One of the most common kid toys in the United States is the toy gun. Toy guns have been around for a very long time, changing over time to reflect changes in weapon design. A lot of these only make noise and sometimes blink, but some can fire darts or pellets. This kind of toy gun can be particularly dangerous.

Many groups-and for that matter parents-take issue with toy guns. Some people believe that toy guns encourage violence, and some studies have concluded that toy weapons correlate with an increase in violent behavior with kids. Although by and large these claims remain controversial, toy guns are still ubiquitous and most kids will encounter one at some point.

Toys that fire projectiles are also rather common. Some of us owned pellet guns at one point and may even still keep one. Pellet guns are weapons and have the potential to severely wound or in rare cases even kill children and adults. Unlike toys that fire foam darts, pellet guns can often easily kill small animals and should never be pointed at people. Only young people who are responsible enough to handle a weapon should be allowed use of one.

Most toys that fire foam darts will not cause injury. Very often toy manufacturers explicitly say not to fire the darts at others, although in practice this does not discourage children from firing them at each other. Some toys fire hard plastic darts, which do pose a greater risk of injury if fired fast enough. And of course any dart, if it hits a child’s eye, has the potential to cause damage. Smaller pieces can also present a choking hazard to young children.

Water guns are a similar case. Although low-pressure jets of water are not likely to cause injury, a high-pressure jet of water could cause eye or ear damage if it hits directly. Any gun filled with chlorinated water could, like all chlorinated water, cause painful irritation of the the eyes and mucous membranes. As with all other projectile toys, water guns should only be given to older children who are responsible enough to use them safely.

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