HealthDay News — Paintball, airsoft, and BB guns are often considered harmless, but a new study confirms that the guns can cause severe, sometimes life-threatening injuries in children. The research is scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Nina Mizuki Fitzgerald, MD, a pediatric emergency medicine fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center/Children’s Health in Dallas, and colleagues evaluated medical records of children seen at Children’s Medical Center Dallas after non-powder gun accidents between 2010 and 2015. In all, 288 children, average age 11, were treated for the gun injuries, more than three-quarters of which involved a BB gun.

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About one in four children had to undergo surgery for the injury. Nearly 45% had a foreign body injury (such as the BB). About 15% were hospitalized. In addition, one in 10 had a functional deficit that interfered with daily tasks, and the overwhelming majority of those were eye-related. Seven children had an eye injury so severe surgeons had to remove the eye, the researchers reported.

“The biggest take-away for parents is that kids should always be supervised when using non-powder guns,” Fitzgerald told HealthDay. And children should always wear eye protection, she stressed.


Fitzgerald N. Recent Trends in Nonpowder Gun Injuries in Children at a Large Tertiary Care Children’s Hospital. American Academy of Pediatrics. 2015. Available at: Accessed October 27, 2015.