Youngsters in China are loving a new “toy” that’s proving to be a more dangerous trend than fidget spinners, and safety-conscious parents are rightly concerned.
The toy, a miniature crossbow that fires toothpicks as arrows, is available in large varieties of online shops. There are those made of metal and wood, with some less than 10 cm in length — barely noticeable for play-pretend “assassins.”
The crossbows, selling from 10 to 100 yuan ($1.46 to $14.62), were an instant hit particularly among primary and middle school students. According to reports, they have been targeting flowers, trees and park signs, prompting complaints from the public.
Kids on a budget might rely on their craftsmanship, however, as there are also online videos teaching how to make DIY crossbows.
As a result, parents have called upon the government to ban the toy, expressing their anger and concerns over its harmful capabilities. As per Shanghai Daily, the toy is able to pop a balloon and pierce cardboard. Meanwhile, a metal needle used in lieu of the toothpick can crack glass.
Vendors themselves are aware of the dangers, warning, “When playing [with the crossbows], don’t aim them at people or animals, as it could hurt people within a four metre range.”
In response to the outcry, the city of Chengdu in Sichuan Province has banned the sale of the toy, South China Morning Post said.
Others, however, only warned against its misuse. Public security authorities in Hunan, for one, said on Monday (via China News):
“We hope teachers and parents can provide guidance to students so such dangerous toys will not cause physical injuries.”