There are plenty of words that come to mind when people bring up Nerf guns: fun, powerful, fast––but is safe one of them?
If it’s not one that comes to mind for you, it bears some thinking about, especially if you have children that you’re planning to equip with Nerf arsenal.
We’ve taken a look at a variety of resources in order to answer the question of Nerf safety, so keep reading!
Are Nerf Guns Safe?
1. Nerf Guns Damage - Nerf Darts, Eye, and Eyewear
If you Google Nerf injuries, the most common results you’ll see, by far, are eye-related. And it’s no surprise; our childhood memories are full of our parents warning us to be careful because we could, “put an eye out!” whenever toys (and other things) started to fly.
Just the thought of a kid losing his/her vision from a Nerf dart scares me.
Back in February, the Daily Mail reported on a young girl who had been struck in the eye by her brother’s Nerf gun and ended up going to the hospital as a result. Thankfully, she received no lasting damage, but it was a wakeup call for many parents.
It goes without saying that this tragedy would have been prevented had the little boy and his sister been using protective eyewear while playing with their Nerf weapons; in fact, that’s something that Hasbro––the makers of Nerf––strongly recommend and even market.
Frankly, everyone who is using Nerf guns––young children and old alike––should be putting on protective eyewear before they play. It falls into the same category as buckling up in the car or putting on a helmet when biking.
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2. Are They Safe? Are They Too Powerful?
Generally, unless a Nerf gun has been modified to be more powerful than it would normally be, it shouldn’t be powerful enough to leave welts on skin as long as it’s being used correctly. The main injuries that come from Nerf blasters are eye-related, and as we’ve mentioned, that can be avoided easily with the use of protective eyewear.
That said, as the folks over at Gizmodo pointed out, Australia has recently decided to ban certain Nerf guns.
The Nerf Rival series certainly could fall into the “too powerful” category, as they are capable of launching darts at speeds up to 70 MPH. This is too fast for most parents to be comfortable letting small children use, although for older Nerf users who are capable of playing responsibly, it shouldn’t be too much trouble.
While we can’t completely disagree with Australia’s decision, it’s worth thinking about an age restriction or warning instead, similar to what goes on other children’s toys, video games, and movies and TV.
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3. Beyond the Ammo, Reckless Nerfing -Vision Safety
As long as protection is worn, Nerf guns seem to pose very little danger in and of themselves. Rather, it’s what people are doing with them that is causing injury and sometimes even loss of life.
As reported by the Star Tribune in April 2017, kids and young adults engaging in a pastime known as “Nerf Wars” have been taking the ordinarily fun activity to dangerous levels.
It’s sad to think that someone could lose their life over foam darts, but what this story underscores is the need for forethought, boundaries, and––most importantly––supervision. There is no reason that teenagers should be allowed to drive around shooting toy blasters at one another out of car windows.
Again, and it cannot be stressed enough, these kids weren’t in danger from Nerf guns. They were in danger from their own reckless behavior.
4. Nerf Gun Safety - 4 Tips
1. Never point the gun at someone's face. This is especially important when using a foam dart blaster. The darts can easily cause eye injuries.
2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
3. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings before firing. Don't shoot at people or objects close to you, as you could easily injure someone or damage property.
4. Store the gun and darts in a safe place when not in use. Make sure that children cannot access them.
5. Be aware of the power of Nerf guns. Some models can shoot foam darts up to 100 feet!
Are toy guns safe for kids?
Toy guns aren't new, and whether or not they're good for kids to play with has been a topic of debate for many years. You don't have to buy them if you don't like them, but experts advise against prohibiting them. There are some toy guns, like Nerf who design specific blasters for younger ages and as kids get older, different blasters are more appropriate for their age group.
Are Nerf guns safe indoors?
Indoor usage of NERF guns, like with most toys, is possible up to a certain extent. While the foam projectiles are more comfortable and safer than other projectiles, they can cause damage by knocking things over and shattering. In addition, they are not safe for indoor animals like cats or dogs.
Are Nerf rival guns safe for kids?
When used responsibly, Nerf blasters are quite safe. The most common cause of injury is being hit with a blaster at close range in the eye. For most blasters, Hasbro recommends an age of eight years old, whereas the more powerful Rival line requires a minimum age of fourteen.
Are Nerf guns appropriate for 6 year old?
As a rule of thumb, age-appropriate Nerf blasters are designed for children of all ages. If you have a child who is 5 or 6, it is important to select blasters that are designed for this age group. These blasters have limited power, are light and compact perfect for small hands to operate.
Are Nerf guns illegal?
Nerf guns are not illegal, but there have been some instances where they have been confiscated by police. In most cases, this is because the person was brandishing the Nerf gun in a threatening manner or using it to commit a crime. There have also been some schools that have banned Nerf guns on their premises.
There are inherent dangers when using Nerf guns, whether that be from darts flying into eyes or blasters that are too powerful, but these can be mitigated, if not avoided outright, by the use of protective gear and a little common sense.
Safety first. It’s the second point that is the more important of the two. Kids shouldn’t be allowed to shoot things at each other without protective eyewear, and they certainly shouldn’t be allowed to use any type of toy while operating something as dangerous as a car.
This isn’t rocket science, but toddler age kids can’t always be counted on to keep a level head while they’re having fun. That’s why it’s ultimately up to the parents need to be in control to make sure that everyone keeps having fun.
At the end of the day the best way to keep kids safe while they enjoy Nerf guns is a simple one: supervision.