February 01, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
We take many kids toys and activities for granted. They are generally safe, and when they aren’t, we adults accept a certain amount of risk that our kids are placed into. We allow it and encourage it in most cases.
A sad news article this week reminded me of how quickly fun can turn to bad. A young girl was shot in the eye with an arrow at the age of three, and then at the age of nine he has lost the eye after being hit by a nerf pellet in the same eye. The doctors removed his eye, and the family is now fundraising for a prosthetic.
The Daily Mail interviewed the surgeon
Dr David Allamby, founder of London's Focus Clinic, a vision correction centre, said: 'A projectile hitting the eye, whatever it might be, carries serious risks.
'And with foam dart guns becoming more powerful as the years go by, they pose a significant threat when it comes to eye injuries.'
He added that a typical rifle can shoot a dart around 75ft (23m).
Despite being made out of soft plastic or rubber, it is travelling at a speed where it can cause of a rupture of blood vessels in the iris.
It can also inflict a corneal abrasion - a scratch on the surface of the eyeball, Dr Allamby added.
He said: 'While it sounds like a minor ailment, a bad tear can then result in all manner of potentially sight-threatening complications, such as corneal infections, recurrent erosion ulcers or long-term scarring of the cornea.
'In other rare cases, direct injury to the eye can cause retinal detachment. Without prompt treatment - typically surgery - it will lead to blindness in the affected eye.'
'As these sort of toys continue to grow in popularity, I'd urge all manufacturers of foam dart guns to sell their products with proper eye protectors.
'Otherwise I'd expect to see an escalation in injuries over the next 12 months.'
While most guns manufactured by popular brands such as Nerf are aimed at children aged 8 years and over, others are designed for teenagers and adults .
The Nerf Rival Blaster, costing from £20 ($25) and unveiled in 2015, fires dimpled balls rather than darts.
And the balls can exit the barrels at speeds of up to 70mph.
We hear of these tragedies infrequently, but it makes you stop to think about what games and activities are ok for kids. I am sure that in most work or sport settings, when small projectiles are involved, we require goggles to be work to protect vision loss. The same is true for many sports like luge, but we don’t require our children to wear helmets to toboggan.
It’s an interesting thing that we accept these risks for children and often get very angry at the suggestion that laws be enacted for safety (for example kids wearing bicycle helmets) even in the face of incontrovertible evidence that safety devices save lives, or in this case vision. Deutschmann Law has a strong tradition of providing bicycle helmets for kids in local schools in recognition of the importance of keeping children safe.
Consider the risks that you accept on behalf of your kids. Make sure they are wearing the proper equipment for the games and sports they participate in. We wear eye protection for badminton and squash, why not for Nerf? Helmets for motor cycles, why not on bikes and scooters?
Too often I see people on the highways and roads with their children not secured in the correct seats. We wear seatbelts, why aren’t we making sure our kids are in boosters until they reach the correct height/weight? Worse yet is when you see infants and toddlers loose in the car.