Johannesburg - A seven-year-old boy was in a critical condition after being shot In the head by another child in De Deur, near Vereeniging, on Friday night, Gauteng paramedics said.

“Three boys were playing in the bedroom, when one of them told the other two that his father owned a gun,” said Captain Shadow Mashobane.

The two boys, aged seven and eight, demanded to see the gun.

The gun owner's son, also seven-years-old, opened the safe and handed the gun to the eight-year-old, who cocked the weapon.

He then handed it back to the son who tried to put the gun back in the safe. While he was doing so, he was pushed by the other seven-year-old and the weapon went off.

The seven-year-old boy was struck in the head and became unconscious.

The boy was stabilised at the scene before being airlifted to Chris Hani Baragwanath in Soweto, ER24 spokesman Derrick Banks said.

Mashobane said the owner of the gun, the father of the boy who removed it from the safe, would be charged for negligence under the Firearms Act.

The two remaining boys were being treated for trauma and shock. - Sapa