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Nerf gun blinded my husband! Take care this Christmas

(2 Posts)
user1481884115 Fri 16-Dec-16 10:46:14

This is my first post but I was spurred to share our story after seeing other people asking online if Nerf guns are dangerous and if they are suitable for children.

The answer is 'Yes, they are!' and 'Not really....'

A few weeks ago my husband and son were playing with Nerf guns when my son accidentally caught my husband in the eye with a bullet as he bent down to pick another bullet up. Immediately he started screaming in agony, his eye went black with blood and he went blind. He spent the day in hospital having it checked and was told the blood vessels in the eye ball have popped, and it is bruised badly. The doctor said that if the bullet had hit a child's eye then they would probably be blind.

My husband hasn't been able to drive, or work for nearly a month, has a selection of medicines to take, and is in a lot of pain as well as being unable to see properly from his eye. He has had to go to the hospital every two days to have a check up, because the condition could deteriorate as well as improve. It's getting better, but he will need check ups for months.

My son loves Nerf guns. Most little boys do! He's got several of them, including the 'N Strike Elite Rough Cut', which is what fired the bullet which went into my husbands eye last weekend. It's pretty powerful and terrifies me!

I emailed Hasbro, who make Nerf, to flag my concerns about the power of the toys and lack of safety messaging apart from 'don't shoot at face'. This is part of my emails -

"It's my understanding that safely goggles are manufactured by yourselves for people to wear whilst playing with the Nerf gun, which is great because they are clearly dangerous. However, why aren't they more widely available or promoted better by yourselves? Your adverts don't feature people wearing them. Your product marketing photos don't feature them either, and there is no sign of them on the dedicated Nerf website. I've looked on several websites, in stores, and in toy catalogues and none of the photos show people wearing protective eyewear and the suppliers don't stock them. Why not? Surely you have a duty of care to consumers to educate them of the dangers of Nerf guns and encourage them to take steps to protect themselves? Your marketing materials do not send the right message at the moment, and contradict what you state on your website about caring about your customers and their safety. If the company doesn't want to do this, then perhaps you should reduce the power of the Nerf guns you sell? A lot of people I've spoken to about this incident have commented on this and the injuries they have sustained from the products. If a 'toy' has the capacity to blind an adult man then I dread to think of the pain and injury that it could inflict on a small child. Even when you're being careful with one of the guns the bullet still has a tendency to go off target and not in the direction it was intended. We've got a young baby and it's very lucky that the stray bullet didn't hit him otherwise I dread to think of the consequences. It would be great to hear your feedback on this matter. At the moment our Nerf guns have been out out of action and we are encouraging other people to do the same thing, or not to buy them at all."

After a few days I received a response from them:

"We were disappointed to hear about your experience with Nerf N Strike Elite Rough Cut. Product safety is of utmost concern at Nerf and all our products undergo rigorous reviews and testing to meet or exceed applicable standards and regulations. The N-Strike Elite and Rebelle Vision Gear accessories are sold separately from the blasters and designed for role play only. In order to help us understand this incident, we would greatly appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about what occurred. Please let me know when you are available and how best to contact you."

I provided my phone number over a week ago but they haven't called, so this was my response in the mean time -

"I'm sure that your products are thoroughly tested, and have seen the advice warning people not to shoot at the face or eyes, but obviously accidents do happen. Has a test been carried out to gauge the effect of a Nerf dart hitting an eyeball? Even a simulation? I was very interested to read that the Vision Gear accessories are designed for role play only, as your own website states that they are for 'protection'?

nerf.hasbro.com/en-us/product/nerf-n-strike-elite-vision-gear:6AFDA58C-5056-9047-F5B4-629A0C166DC1

If they are not designed to act as safety gear, and for 'role play' only, then shouldn't the product description reflect this? I've seen this information duplicated on the website of other suppliers too. Otherwise parents are buying the item to protect their child's eyes and being
misled. Can you appreciate that your marketing materials and product packaging might be a bit confusing for parents at the moment? Different messages are being sent about safety and protective wear. It would just be useful if people were more aware of the dangers and were more equipped to prevent them."

That was over a week ago.

So, if you are buying a Nerf gun this Christmas please also buy some goggles for your child! But not the Nerf ones, because apparently they are for 'role play only'....

Address your concerns to customersupport@hasbro.com (email not readily available on website!)

NeilGoodwin Tue 24-Jan-17 16:50:26

Hi, sorry to hear about your Nerf dramas. I'm a journalist and PR consultant and I'm actually working on a story about the dangers of foam dart guns. I've been searching the net for case studies and this has cropped up.
And, funnily enough, your story is not dissimilar at all to a chap I spoke to last week from Leeds. He was shot in the eye by one of his sons - entirely by accident - and was rendered blind in that eye for around five days. I've spoken to another mum who ended up in A&E with her daughter following a similar scenario around Christmas.
I'd love to have a chat with you, if at all possible, so that I might be able to include your comments in the piece? Thanks, Neil Goodwin.
Email: neil*@marcorichards*.co.uk

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