Toddler in Agony After Playing With a Toy Gun

Another toddler is injured by a gun he shouldn't have had his hands on. At a Christmas party no less. When will it end? Okay, this is a bit different. The gun was a toy. A toy assault rifle.

A family friend gave 2-year-old Kiwi tot William Ritchie the gift of an Action Team Assault Rifle -- a scary sentence to even write. The boy's mother describes to the New Zealand Herald the boy's night of "writhing in agony" a few hours after playing with the gun:

William began breaking out with spots over his face. That worsened to severe stomach pain, facial swelling that made it impossible for him to see out of his eye, muscle pain, and diarrhoea. He was just screaming and screaming.

From a toy gun? Well, this toy gun just happened to be loaded with excessive levels of lead.


Worse, the family thought the boy's allergic reaction was to something else, and the kid played with the toy gun again. His eyes swelled shut. He still has lead in his system four weeks later, though doctors say he doesn't have long-term lead poisoning.

I can't imagine why the family is whining. The gun only had 169 times the legal limit of lead allowed in New Zealand. It had 15,190 milligrams per kilogram, the limit is 90. Ninety. Wow. Please don't ask what any of those metric numbers actually mean. I'm an American.

The Action Team Assault Rifle was one of six bargain toys found to be tainted with lead early this month that spurred an investigation and recall of "extreme urgency" by the country's Commerce Commission. They have yet to find the source of the toys.

Actually in seriousness, the parents do need to pay more heed to the age guidelines on toys (not that I've ever done anything but blow them off). This gun should not have been in any store or house, but the real danger comes from toddlers sucking on them, not big kids holding them. Frankly, a toddler with a gun in his mouth ought to be too creepy for anyone to bear regardless of what the thing's made of.

Are you strict about following the age guidelines on toys?

Image via GenoSonic/Flickr

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