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Farmington boy injured after battery explodes inside toy gun

DAVIS COUNTY – A little Farmington boy is recovering after a laser tag gun malfunctioned, sending battery acid into his face and eye.

Seven-year-old Kempton Kirkwood helped pick out the laser tag gun set that would eventually be a Christmas gift from his grandparents.  His mother approved of this gift, thinking it would be safer than an air-soft gun.  She told KSL she kept thinking of “A Christmas Story” and the classic line, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”  That’s why she didn’t want him to have a gun with any projectiles.

Ironically, the “safer” gun gave her son an eye injury.

Kempton said he’d only been playing with his new laser gun from The Sharper Image for a few minutes when the batteries started getting hot.  He tried to take the batteries out, but, one of them got stuck in the gun.  When he looked into the battery chamber… pop!

“I saw stuff come out of it, into my eye,” he said.

The whole thing was caught on video that you can see at the top of this story.

His mother, Lesha, rushed him to the kitchen, and tried to wash his face off, but, the injuries were severe enough to send him to the emergency room.  Kempton asked his mom if he was going to go blind while they were on their way.

“When we went to the ER, they had to put suction cups and salt water in my eye.  It was cold,” he said.

Kempton is expected to make a full recovery.  Doctors report he has scratches on his eye, but those could be fixed with some antibiotics and a steroid for the next week.

However, Lesha Kirkwood says this isn’t the only time this kind of gun has had a battery explode.  She said they searched online and found the same thing had happened to a family in Texas.

“We decided we better let other people know, just in case anyone hasn’t opened their gifts,” Kirkwood said.

The shell of the battery is still lodged into the battery chamber since the Kirkwoods were never able to get it out.


“I know it’s rare that that happens, but, just for anyone to know, if you sense something going wrong, trust your instinct when there’s a battery that’s heating up and get as far away from it as possible”, Kirkwood said.

KSL’s calls to The Sharper Image and to the gun maker, MerchSource, have not yet been returned.