Paintball, BB Guns May Pose Bigger Threat to Kids Than Parents Think

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AAP: Paintball, BB Guns Can Severely Injure Children
AAP: Paintball, BB Guns Can Severely Injure Children

(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, held from Oct. 24 to 27 in Washington, D.C.

Nina Mizuki Fitzgerald, M.D., 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.

About one in four children had to undergo surgery for the injury. Nearly 45 percent had a foreign body injury (such as the BB). About 15 percent 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.

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