Projectile toys

Children are at risk of serious facial and eye injuries when playing with projectile toys. Always make sure children know how to play safely with these toys.

About projectile toys

Projectile toys can include toy handguns, rifles and slingshots, bows and arrows, and dart guns.  Some sets may also include a target.

Risks and injuries

Projectile toys pose many injury risks to children.

Children can suffer serious facial and eye injuries, including blindness, if hit by sharp flying objects from:

  • guns or other pull-back toys that shoot small darts less than 57 mm into the air
  • toys that can shoot random objects, such as nails, into the air at high speed
  • arrows.

Children are also at risk of accidental cuts, piercing and stabbing if they come in contact with an arrow that has a sharp edge or joint.

Small suction-tipped darts pose a choking and suffocation hazard for young children. The darts can lodge in a child's throat and block the airways, causing loss of consciousness or death.

Buying tips

  • Check that the shafts of arrows have a permanently attached protective tip or a blunted front end to manually attach a protective tip. These features can minimise the risk of serious injury.
  • Choose a bow that cannot launch improvised projectiles such as pencils or other items that could be made into dangerous ‘arrows’.
  • Dart guns are not recommended for children under five years old.
  • Bows and arrows are not recommended as toys.

Safe use

  • Always supervise children playing with projectile toys and warn them not to fire at or near people and animals.
  • Keep souvenir bows, arrows and spears out of young children’s reach — these are generally much more dangerous as they are not made with children’s safety in mind.
  • Never allow children to play with adult darts as these are generally much sharper and can cause serious injuries to the eyes, face and body.