Toothpick crossbow 'toy' craze has China quivering

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The tiny crossbow is created to shoot out toothpicks, but parents fear the toothpick could be replaced by a needle and cause serious injuries.

Parents in China are calling on the government to ban a "toothpick crossbow" toy that's proving popular with children across the country.

The tiny crossbows are sold in shops and on the streets around schools, and can also be purchased online.

The toy has become so ubiquitous that some cities have begun banning them, and parents are up in arms out of fear that children could easily be injured or blinded by accident.

Meanwhile, police in the city of Chengdu, in the Sichuan province in southwest China, have already taken action by banning sales of the hazardous plaything.


According to Chinese media, police are also cracking down on shops near schools selling the unsafe gadgets.

The toy, if used with a toothpick, can puncture a balloon and pierce cardboard when shot directly at it, the Shanghai Daily reported.

Following criticism from parents, China's leading e-commerce sites like JD.com and Taobao.com, which belongs to online retail giant Alibaba, announced they would stop selling the toys on their platform.

There are also several online videos that demonstrate how to make a homemade toothpick crossbow, while some show the risky toy in action piercing through apples, cardboard or raw meat. While the toys do come with a note saying they should not be aimed at people or animals, the packaging of one product claims it can even fight cockroaches, which many might say is no bad thing.

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