The child is in a stable condition at Auckland's Starship children's hospital
The child is in a stable condition at Auckland's Starship children's hospital

Dad shoots toddler in head with rifle by accident

A FATHER accidentally shot his toddler son in the head with an air rifle while getting the weapon out of a wardrobe, police say.

Police said the 17-month-old boy's father was retrieving his air rifle from a bedroom wardrobe at a house in Temuka, Canterbury, on Friday evening when the toddler appeared to have been shot in the back of the head.

Sergeant Geoff McCrostie said it was too early to say if anybody would be arrested.

The toddler was now in a stable condition in Auckland's Starship children's hospital.

Canterbury rural area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said while owners of air rifles were not required to have a firearms licence, police encouraged them to follow the requirements and rules about the safe handling of firearms.

"All firearms should be stored unloaded, in a secure cabinet and when handling always treat them as if they are loaded and ensure that the barrel is pointed in a safe direction," he said.

"Even though air rifles are available for purchase without a valid firearms licence, they are not toys and can cause serious harm when used incorrectly."


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