Doctors from a London eye hospital have warned that Nerf guns can potentially cause serious eye damage, so kids and their parents should be very careful when playing with the toys.
While it may be obvious to say that a toy gun can cause damage when it is pointed to someone's eyes, the problem is amplified by the presence of third-party companies that manufacture replacement bullets for Nerf guns.
Nerf Gun Can Cause Serious Eye Damage
Eye experts from Accident & Emergency at Moorfields Eye Hospital have treated three people who suffered from internal bleeding in the eye, blurred vision, and pain after they were shot with a Nerf gun.
One victim, Sarah Smith, was accidentally shot by her husband in the eye at close range. Her vision in the affected eye went black as she suffered from massive pain. Her temporary blindness ended 20 minutes later, but the doctors found that she had a flattened pupil. Sarah's recovery time was six months.
Another victim, the seven-year-old son of Natalie Hearn-Smith, was also accidentally shot in the eye at close range. The child was screaming after the incident, which required him to visit a specialist eye hospital and to take antibiotic eye drops and cream. Thankfully, the child's eyesight has recovered.
Making the problem a more serious one is that there are many bullets for Nerf guns, or so-called Nerf darts, being sold by third-party manufacturers. Compared to the real Nerf darts of Hasbro, the ones made by other companies are potentially more dangerous because they are firmer. However, at very close range, the softer official Nerf darts will still likely deal the same amount of damage to a person's eye as the firmer unofficial ones. In fact, the newest versions of Nerf darts even have redesigned tips that make them more precise but also more capable of dealing eye injuries.
How To Stay Safe With Nerf Guns
Hasbro, the owner of the Nerf brand, recommends players to aim their Nerf guns away from the face and eyes of other people. The doctors, however, want parents and children to take safety measures a step further and wear protective goggles whenever they are playing with the toys.
Hasbro also advises that only official Nerf darts should be used with the toys. In addition, players should not modify their Nerf darts for any reason, as it could make them even more dangerous.
The doctors have also called for a review on the minimum age requirement for using Nerf guns, which, upon completion, should help parents decide whether their child should be allowed to play with Nerf guns.