An estimated 6,100 people have been treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries involving lawn darts from 1978 through 1936. At least 80 percent of the victims were younger than 15 years old, and more than 50 percent were ten years old or younger. More than half of the victims had injuries to the head, eye, ear or face. Investigations indicated that severe injuries included punctures, lacerations and fractures to the head and skull, Although victims were often bystanders, in many cases those playing the game were children.
In addition to the death of the seven year old girl in April, the Commission is aware of one other lawn dart death. This involved a four year old boy and occurred in 1970.
Lawn dart sets usually include two targets and four large darts. The targets are plastic tubes which are shaped form circles and placed on the lawn. The darts, which are about 12 inches long with a weighted tip on one end and three plastic fins and a rod or the other end, are grasped by the rod and thrown underhand toward the target. Since 1970 the sale of lawn darts has been banned in toy stores and toy departments, but lawn darts have been sold for adult use in sporting goods stores and departments. Lawn dart packages must bear the following label on the front of the package:
May cause serious of fatal injury. Read
instructions carefully. Keep out of
reach of children.""
Although lawn dart packages are required to bear warning labels, and toy stores and toy departments are prohibited from selling lawn darts, children have continued to play with and be injured by lawn darts. In a recent survey the CPSC identified numerous violations of warning label and retail sale requirements. The CPSC is monitoring these situations to make sure that violations are corrected promptly and to prevent future violations. The CPSC staff also is considering what additional measures could be taken to prevent or reduce future lawn dart injuries and deaths.
In addition to keeping lawn darts away from children, the Consumer Product Safety Commission asks consumers who find lawn darts being sold in toy stores or toy departments, or being sold without the required warning label, to report the name and address of the store and the brand name of the lawn darts to the CPSC. Consumers may write to the CPSC, Washington, DC 2O2O or call the CPSC toll-free hotline number at 800-638-CPSC. A teletypewriter number for the hearing impaired is (301) 595-7054.