A mum-of-three has warned parents against buying a ‘pocket staff magic trick’ for children this Christmas after she suffered a painful injury when it sprung open unexpectedly.
Clarissa Clary, 44, from Essex, bought the gift for her 16-year-old son from a private seller on eBay.
The product, used by magicians, appears to be a small metal cylinder but quickly pops out into a staff up to five feet in length.
Writing in a Facebook post, make-up artist and hair stylist Clarissa said: “This is a big, huge warning to anyone out there that has bought a magic staff, or is thinking about buying one of these dangerous items for anyone - please don’t!’
‘I released the spring and it shot open very, very fast. I thought it was quite cool. I couldn’t close it back up, and after I watched [a] video, I saw it was a challenge.
See more: Like Yahoo UK on Facebook
‘Anyway, I managed to close it. I secured it nicely and put it back in the box. I put the little box in the Christmas bag on the sofa, ready to put away under the stairs.
‘When I picked the bag up, somehow the spring was released, and within 1 second, at 1000mph and over 5ft long, it hit me in the face.’
Clarissa went to hospital but had to wait more than five hours with blood trickling down her face. She needed a tetanus injection as the product had loose metal fragments.
The following day, she couldn’t stand up or see out her left eye.
Her bruising worsened over three weeks, and she continues to feel ill with headaches, dizziness and sickness spells.
She wrote: “All I could think of was how lucky I was as I could have lost my eye. The hospital said the same - it could have been life threatening.”
“If a child got hold of this, I dread to think what could happen.”
Clarissa told Yahoo Style UK that the item arrived in a small brown box with no markings, leaflet, any instructions or warnings - and the manufacturer is unknown.
She added: “It was literally one inch away from my eye socket. This item could kill someone or cause disfigurement forever.”
The post has now been shared more than 300 times on Facebook at the time of writing.
One Facebook user wrote: ‘I got one of these last year for my son. I have taken it away as I thought it was dangerous.’
Another parent added: ‘I’m so glad I’ve seen this, as this would be something my son would have asked for.’
A third person commented: ‘I've seen these things sold as a concealed weapon, not as a magic trick.’
Clarissa told Yahoo Style UK: “It’s described as a magician’s toy which opens up when you release the spring.
“I genuinely didn't know the danger of this item when purchasing it. The product was faulty and badly made. If you go on YouTube you can watch some quick videos on it - it shows you how fast the release is.”
She added: “My daughter contacted the private seller when it happened to tell them.”
Clarissa was given a refund, and the seller apologised and removed the product listing immediately.
However, she is concerned that similar pocket staffs are still being listed on eBay, from as little as £2, and claiming to be 100% quality products.
She said: “I'm just very concerned if anyone buys one of these, and gives it as a present for Christmas there will be many accidents waiting to happen unfortunately.”
“This product is so dangerous. I bought mine on eBay, but they also sell them on other websites. I just don’t want anyone else to get hurt.”
An eBay spokesperson said: “eBay doesn’t permit the listing of unsafe products. The items have been removed and the sellers advised to contact buyers.”