Nerf darts have become heavier and shoot faster, making them more dangerous says U of A eye specialist Matthew Tennant.
Codie McLachlan / Postmedia
It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.That’s the message that University of Alberta eye specialist Matthew Tennant wants to spread as he pushes for the introduction of safety rules surrounding Nerf guns, toy weapons that shoot small, foam darts.Tennant started advocating for awareness around the potentially dangerous toys after treating a 43-year-old woman who was accidentally hit in the eye from a Nerf dart shot about six metres away.The shot resulted in a tear to the woman’s retina, an injury that Tennant says can result in permanent vision loss if left untreated. The woman was treated soon enough to recover from the injury, but the incident led Tennant to report the case in a medical journal and start work in creating safety recommendations around the toys.Along with the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, Tennant is creating a policy statement about toy projectile weapons that he hopes will increase safe-use awareness among both manufacturers and the general public. The policy will extend beyond Nerf to other toys, including Airsoft and paintball.“The policy will likely state something along the lines of, ‘Children should not be using these without adult supervision’ and that anyone using these toys should be wearing eye protection, and preferably a face shield,” he said.Tennant added that a representative from Hasbro, the company that produces Nerf guns, told him the company is interested in working with the policy group to create safety best practices.According to Tennant, some changes made to Nerf toys have resulted in a more dangerous product than in the past. For instance, darts are now heavier and fire more quickly, with projectile speeds reaching 110 km/h, according to calculations by the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology.“Those things have been done to increase speed — not, I think, in a malicious way. But as a result of those improvements in technology, the chance of an injury is greater,” Tennant said.Hasbro did not respond to requests for comment by press email@example.com