Lawn darts have been banned in the United States for more than 30 years, but they keep turning up on the market, forcing the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to issue recalls and additional warnings.
Last week, after becoming aware that Crown Darts UK-brand lawn dart sets sold online at www.crowndarts.com, were in the U.S., CPSC sprang into action and demanded a recall. Crown Darts UK is unable to issue the recall itself, so the CPSC took matters into its own hands, warning that “consumers should immediately stop using the recalled lawn dart sets and destroy and dispose of them to prevent further usage.”
Lawn darts began showing up in backyards as a fun family game the 1950s, but injury reports were becoming so rampant that in 1970, the CPSC moved to ban the toys. Manufacturers challenged the ban and the two groups reached a compromise. Lawn darts could still be sold but not as toys or in toy stores. Packages also had to include warning labels.
But the warnings weren’t enough to keep injuries from happening. A few years later, the father of a 7-year-old girl killed in a lawn dart accident lobbied CPSC to reevaluate its decision on lawn darts. The agency then found that “from January 1978 to December 1986, lawn darts were responsible for an estimated 6,100 hospital emergency-room treated injuries. Approximately 81% of the victims were younger than 15 years old, and 50% were younger than 10.” The commission also learned that a 4-year-old and a 13-year-old also died from lawn dart-related injuries during that time.
In 1988, CPSC announced an official ban on lawn darts because of the risk of skull punctures and other serious injuries, particularly to children. Yet, the toys continued to appear on store shelves and people’s homes, forcing the CPSC in 1977 to reissue the ban.
In the case of Crown Darts UK, it’s evident that lawn darts are still on the market. The recalled Crown Darts UK lawn darts were sold in two-, four-, and five-player sets, and contained four, eight, and 10 darts respectively, as well as individual spare darts. Each lawn dart is about a foot long (30 cm), has polypropylene flights (fins) designed to be held at the tail, with a brass body ending in a stainless steel spigot (peg). The lawn darts were sold in assorted colors including red, blue, yellow, purple, pink, orange, ivory and green. The Crown Darts logo is printed on the product. They were sold from May 2004 to June 2020 for between $15 and $139. About 19,400 of the darts were sold in the U.S., and an additional 4,048 in Canada.
For more information about lawn darts or what to do with your set, contact CPSC’s hotline at 800-638-2772.