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Children Accidentally Inhaling Darts from Homemade Blowguns

Update Date: Jul 23, 2013 11:53 AM EDT
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Blowguns work by blowing the dart out of the casing toward a target. When done properly, the dart should ideally end up on the desired victim. Despite the simplicity of a blowgun, reports find that more and more young children are accidentally inhaling these darts. According to a new review, children, particularly teenagers, are learning how to make homemade blowguns from the Internet. However, instead of blowing the darts out, teenagers are inhaling them right into their throats, creating life-threatening situations.

Based from doctors' reports from one hospital, there have been three cases of swallowed darts. The first case in this report involved a 15-year-old boy who was brought into the emergency department after suffering a three-hour coughing fit. After x-rays informed the doctors that there was a foreign object in the teenager's airways, he finally admitted that he had swallowed a dart from a blowgun he created after getting instructions from the Internet. Two more similar cases followed over the next three months. The doctors were able to safely remove the darts with a bronchoscope in all of these three cases.

"Fortunately, these kids were fine," said Dr. Kris Jatana, one of the authors of this report, according to HealthDay. Jatana is an ear, nose and throat surgeon from the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH. "The Internet is an avenue for this information to get out there to kids."

In this report, Jatana and his colleagues identified 20 websites that provide a 'how-to' guide in creating blowguns. Some of the websites did issue a warning that people should not blow darts at each other. However, none of them warned people of the potential risk of inhaling a dart. The authors of the report described how easy it would be for someone to inhale a dart. Since blowing out a dart requires one to inhale a breath, the risk of accidentally inhaling with the blowgun in one's mouth is quite high.

Even though this report only outlined three cases, the authors remind parents and children to seek medical care if there seems to be some blockage affecting the airways. Aspiration can be extremely dangerous when it is not fixed. The report was published in Pediatrics

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