Both projectile and nonprojectile toys, and nonpowder guns such as air guns and air rifles, are categorized as toy firearms. Although the Academy realizes that the welfare of children and adolescents would be best served by banning these instruments, we are unable to prevent their availability and use. We offer this statement in an attempt to safeguard the young user from possible injury.
Between 1980 and 1981, accidents involving projectile toys were responsible for 747 reported injunies to children younger than 15 years of age.1 Most of these injuries involved the face or eyes, 2.9% of these injuries required hospitalization, more than 400 days were lost from school and/or work, and nearly 3,000 days of activities were restricted. In addition, there have been severe or even fatal consequences following the use of substitute projectiles or live ammunition. Children have also died as a result of aspiration of projectiles.
Accidents involving air guns and air rifles are an even more frequent cause of injury to children. In 1980, approximately 23,000 injuries associated with nonpowder guns were treated in US hospital emergency rooms.2 In two thirds of the cases the victim was less than 16 years of age.
In a 1973 review of 105 air gun-related injuries to the eye, sequelae included traumatic cataract, retinal detachment, and sympathetic ophthalmitis.3 Eighteen of the injuries required enucleation of the eye. More than 70% of those injured were children 6 to 15 years of age. The continuing nature of this problem has been demonstrated by Sternberg et al4 in a 1984 review of 32 children with air gun-related eye injuries.
- Copyright © 1987 by the American Academy of Pediatrics