Dart Gun Toy Sets Recalled after Two Children Choke to Death on Darts

On Monday, May 17, 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Family Dollar Stores Inc. announced a safety recall of approximately 1.8 million toy dart gun sets, sold exclusively in Family Dollar stores until last year, after the agency received reports of two children's deaths in connection to the dart toys.

Soft, pliable plastic toy darts sold with the dart gun set can become lodged in a child's throat or accidentally inhaled, blocking the airway and leading to brain damage or death from asphyxiation in only a few minutes. A 9-year-old boy from Chicago, Illinois, and a 10-year-old boy from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, died after choking on the toy darts.

The recall affects all "Auto Fire" dart gun toys with "Gordy Toy" and "Ages 8+" on the packaging, sold as a set containing the following items:

  • Yellow/orange toy gun (item #P238) or a blue/yellow toy gun (item #9328)
  • 5-inch diameter dartboard with the numbers 1-20 printed around the rim
  • Eight orange darts, measuring just over 1-inch in length and ½ inch wide, with a small suction cup at one end

Family Dollar and the CPSC are working together on the safety recall to get the dart toys away from consumers and out of children's hands, since the importer of the toy dart guns, Henry Gordy International Inc., has refused to recall the dangerous product.

"You cannot get (the dart) out of the child, it's a perfect fit, it's like a stopper. And it just lodges in there and blocks off the air and the child suffocates," said Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of the CPSC.

The Auto Fire toy dart sets were sold in Family Dollar stores nationwide from September 2005 through January 2009 for about $1.50. Consumers are advised to discard the toys or return them to a Family Dollar store for a full refund.

In December 2009, another toy dart gun set was recalled by the CPSC after an 8-year-old boy in Texas died after chewing on the toy dart and accidentally swallowing and choking on the small part. Airway obstruction from small parts is one of the leading causes of toy-related deaths in children under the age of 15, according to the CPSC.