Fidget Spinners Are the Old Thing, Now It's About The Toothpick Crossbow in China

Handheld miniature crossbows designed to shoot toothpicks are the latest trending toy in China. But this is no innocuous fidget-spinner. Parents have raised concerns that the toy crossbows can be loaded with nails, glass, and other 'ammunition.' The crossbows can be bought for just $1 and tests have shown that, if loaded with a needle, the crossbow can shatter glass if fired directly at it.

Toothpick crossbow
Man demonstrating toothpick crossbow in China. STR/AFP/Getty Images

Worried parents say that the crossbow is more than just a toy and could be used as a weapon. Chinese parents have taken to Weibo, China's social media platform, asking schools to ban them. One poster said: "Hurry up [and ban them], pupils do not understand and are just shooting people for fun. It will cause accidents sooner or later."

Another parent said: "They're very dangerous."

Shop owners told Shanghai Daily that the new toy is so popular it sells out so quickly that they need to keep re-ordering new stock, while online videos show how kids can make their own.

Chengdu has banned the toothpick crossbows, which are used to fire at everything from signs to other students. The craze is most popular among primary and middle school pupils. Police in Chongqing's Jiulongpo district reported 15 crossbow injuries to children.

Fidget spinners have been a craze among kids for the last few months, a toy that spins on the hand rather than on a table.

Spinners have been touted as a way for kids to help control ADHD. The toys have also sparked blogs, videos, and forum conversations about how to do tricks, inspiring one garage in Russia to make a fidget spinner out of three cars.