It may be more significant than you think: BB air rifle injury to a child's head

Pediatr Emerg Care. 1990 Dec;6(4):278-9. doi: 10.1097/00006565-199012000-00007.


BB guns of 20 years ago were constructed of coils and springs which generated relatively little force, so that a projectile posed little threat of serious injury. Today, the coil and spring construction has been replaced by pump action pneumatic chambers which allow generation of muzzle velocities near 350 ft/sec. Speeds of 150 ft/sec and 200 ft/sec are required for skin penetration and bone penetration, respectively. We present a seven-year-old boy who suffered intracranial parenchymal injury from an air-powered BB gun projectile while playing with friends. We discuss literature which suggests these once-innocent toys are now harbingers of severe, if not fatal, injury.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Firearms
  • Frontal Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Frontal Bone / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Wounds, Gunshot / diagnostic imaging*