Eye injuries from BB guns, pellets and paintballs are on the rise – soaring 30% as experts warn they ‘should be regarded as lethal weapons’
- The rate of kids hospitalized with eye injuries from BB guns soared 30% between 1990 and 2016
- Experts warn BB guns are more powerful than they used to be and can be lethal
Soaring rates of children are being hospitalized with eye injuries caused by BB guns, pellets and paintballs, a report reveals.
The rate of overall injuries from nonpowder firearms dropped 54 percent between 1990 and 2016.
But eye injuries rose 30 percent, according to a report published today in the journal Pediatrics.
‘Nonpowder firearms should be regarded as potentially lethal weapons,’ the research team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio wrote.
BB guns are more lethal today than they were when A Christmas Story came out. In the movie, Ralphie nearly shoots his eye out with his BB gun. Experts say that’s now much more likely
BB guns are not what they used to be.
In A Christmas Story, Ralphie’s mom says ‘you’ll shoot your eye out’ to his request for a BB gun, and it sounds overly cautious.
Now, experts say, that’s a possibility.
Four people a year are killed by BB guns, which can have the velocity of a .22 rifle, with a shooting range of up to a mile.
Dr Gary Smith, lead author of the study and director of the hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy, told CNN he has seen patients with pellets lodged in their brains and hearts.
According to the new report, which analyzed hospital data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, 364,133 children were hospitalized by such guns between 1991 and 2016.
A little more than 50,000 of those injuries were in the eye, mainly scratches, but many more serious, such as hyphema, causing blood to pool in the cornea.
The vast majority of injured kids (87 percent) were boys, mostly aged six to 12 years old.
If parents are planning on buying a nonpowder firearm for their child this Christmas or Black Friday, experts suggest buying protective eye gear to go with it.