An incident involving two children and a squirt gun caused the East Asia Economy and Trade News (东亚经贸新闻报) from Jilin province to shine a spotlight today on the potentially grave danger posed by water squirt guns. As evening approached on Sunday in the city of Changchun, two children were playing near their apartment building, one toting the toy gun in question. Before the day was out, the other child was in the hospital, prompting the paper to launch an investigation into the types and potential dangers of squirt guns as well as relevant safety regulations. Turns out these toys are much more dangerous than you may think.
East Asia Economy and Trade News‘s front page informs us that a five year-old girl, pseudonym Yueyue 悦悦, and a six year-old boy, pseudonym Songsong 嵩嵩, were playing relatively unattended at the foot of their apartment building while Yueyue’s mother chatted with a neighbor at a distance. At approximately six o’clock, Yueyue, whose hands were still oily from eating, reached out to Songsong, dirtying his clothes. In retaliation, Songsong fired at Yueyue with his toy squirt gun, hitting her in the eyes. Yueyue was soon crying inconsolably and her mother, Ms. Zhao, noticed that her daughter’s eyes were red and swollen and immediately whisked her away to the nearby Norman Bethune Hospital Number Two.
According to the ophthalmologist who examined Yueyue, the force of the squirt gun had ruptured her cornea, causing severe ocular inflammation and swelling. However, after only a few days of treatment, Yueyue’s condition stabilized.
The incident prompted the East Asia Economy and Trade News to launch an investigation. At a local wholesale toy market, more than twenty different vendors were found to be selling some thirty varieties of squirt guns, often for as little as five yuan. All of the toy squirt guns displayed a “3C” on the packaging, indicating that they were safe for children three years or older. According to one vendor, all of the squirt guns he buys carry the ‘3C’ marking, and the bad quality ones are avoided because they “pose a hidden danger” (安全隐患)”.
Citing a similar investigation by another newspaper, the City Journal (城市信报), East Asia Economy and Trade News questioned whether even squirt guns of quality “3C” can be trusted. Last year, City Journal reporters conducted experiments with water guns similarly purchased at a wholesale toy market. The reporters were able to completely pierce one sheet of A4 paper from a distance of one meter and two sheets from a distance of thirty centimeters in only two seconds. Using a pump-style water gun, the reporters were able to shoot a hole through no less than four sheets of paper. The conclusion? “Toy guns don’t just imitate real guns, they can actually harm people, too”.
Also making headlines on today’s East Asia Economy and Trade News front page is a report that at one Japanese spa, customers are going in for snails. According to the report, ‘Snail Facial’ (蜗牛美容) mixes snail-goo with large amounts of protein, anti-oxidants, and other materials for a 1,500 yuan treatment that can keep your skin “warm and gentle, can soothe inflammation, and eliminate dead skin”.