It’s a boy thing; homemade blowgun darts seem as if they might be fun and relatively harmless, but according to some doctors, they can be far more dangerous than previously thought. It seems that there are more cases of teenage boys inhaling the darts than anyone realized before now, and it can have serious consequences.
Inhalation of blowgun darts is caused from taking that deep breath just before “blowing” out to make the darts go, and researchers with Nationwide Children’s Hospital are noting more cases than ever before. One recent case, that of a 15 year old boy who had inhaled a dart through a dart gun that he had built with directions that he found online. After coughing for more than a few hours, he wound up in the emergency room. The results of X-rays showed that there was a “foreign object” that was partially blocking his airways.
The researchers described the case in Pediatrics, and also noted that two other teenagers came in with similar injuries over a period of just three months. The other two victims were also coughing, and finally admitted that they had accidentally inhaled a blowgun dart.
Although it was possible to treat the problem, researchers are concerned of the health risks from inhaling a blowgun dart. In the abstract of the study, the researchers noted that while prompt treatment can have satisfactory results, there is the potential for serious complications, including death, when patients hesitate in telling the truth of the cause of their symptoms.
Many think that a few blowgun darts are a minor problem that, thankfully, can be treated, but the cause for concern is the fact that the internet provides false information – in this case, the way to make a homemade blowgun dart – and that kids can gain access to that information that could be harmful to them.
In the case of the blowgun dart instructions, researchers counted no less than 20 websites that provide instructions on building this seemingly harmless toy.
According to many, the bottom line is to be aware of what kids are doing. The blowgun dart gun itself may not be the problem, but making sure that it is properly built, and ensuring that they are inhaling in a way to prevent inhalation of the darts can be an effective way to prevent injuries.