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Toy weapons a serious danger to local children

Update: August, 26/2017 - 08:10
Toy bows at a shop on Lương Văn Can Street, a street famous for selling children’s toys in the capital city. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – Lương Văn Can Street in Hà Nội’s Hoàn Kiếm District has long been considered a paradise of toys. However, recently, bows and plastic bullet guns have been sold as children’s toys, despite them being dangerous.  

There are many shops on the less-than-one km street. Entering a small store, reporters of Lao Động (Labour) Newspaper asked for a plastic bullet gun. The shopkeeper quickly agreed to show a sample.

“We stock only one of this kind, for VNĐ100,000 (US$5),” she said.

Asked if it is dangerous, the seller said: “Don’t worry, it just feels a bit itchy when you’re hit”. However, within 10m, the gun could damage an eye.

The gun was wrapped in a simple plastic bag without any information of origin or instructions, with just some lines of a foreign language carved on its body.

Not far from this shop, a bigger showroom has a wide array of toys.  Asked if they had any plastic guns, a salesperson shook his head, saying “we don’t sell them anymore”. However, he showed reporters a VNĐ160,000 ($8) bow. He even mentioned that the store could supply this type of toy in many sizes.

According to him, when shot, an arrow can fly up to 10m. This bow is manufactured quite sophisticatedly with six arrows, with the whole set in a colourful box, without any usage instruction or origin information. The seller claimed it was from China.

A policeman in Hoàn Kiếm District’s Hàng Đào Ward told Lao Động Newspaper that local authorities worked with the Market Management Team to patrol, educate and warn shops not to sell dangerous toys. However, he was unsure when the last inspection occured.

Hidden threats

Toy-related accidents have seemingly become more common, with the toy market largely unregulated.

In 2014, bright plastic toys containing powder exploded while children were playing with them, hospitalising seven primary school students in Đắk Lắk Province. This is just one example of the roughly 2,000 children’s accidents that the National Children’s Hospital receives every year, according to Doctor Lê Ngọc Duy of the hospital’s emergency department. In most cases, the main reason is parents’ allow their children to play with toys made of small parts.

Plastic bullets for toy guns can easily fall into children’s ears. Normally, medical tools can be used to remove them; however, bullets containing chemicals may cause inflammation.  

According to Nguyễn Huy An from Hà Nội Bar Association, a decision issued by Minister of Home Affairs and a decree by the Government regulates that toy bows and guns are dangerous toys and banned from sale.

Fines for manufacturing, selling or stocking these type of toys range from VNĐ500,000 to 1 million ($25-50). People letting children play with those toys may be fined VNĐ500,000 to 1 million ($25-50), according to another Government decree. – VNS


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