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Water Balloon Slingshots: Toy or Weapon?

What could be more fun this summer than a water balloon slingshot?

We recently represented a young man who knows the answer to this question — he suffered a blow-out fracture of the orbit of his left eye when he was struck by a water balloon fired from a slingshot. Today he is legally blind in his left eye.

What makes water balloon slingshots dangerous is that kids are tempted to shoot the balloons at each other — and they don’t realize how easily these water balloons can cause serious injuries.

The most dangerous models of slingshots sold in stores today require three people to launch the water balloon. Two people hold each end of the sling while one person pulls back the pouch containing the balloon and then releases it. This “toy” can hurl a balloon over 200 yards at speeds of up to 230 miles per hour.

A consumer group reported in 1988 that water balloon slingshots had caused hundreds, if not thousands, of severe injuries. It included these slingshots in its “dirty dozen” list of dangerous toys. The smaller, hand-held models were also recently included in another consumer group’s listing of the most dangerous toys sold to our children.

Water balloons, as well as all types of slingshots, are a major cause of children’s eye injuries according to the National Society to Prevent Blindness. How long will toy stores sell these weapons to our children? For our young client, the answer will be too late.

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