Water beads are tiny plastic beads often used as toys. They’re given to kids as sensory tools, especially for children with developmental disabilities. As engaging as they may be, these beads can pose more harm than good.
Recently, the Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits, sold exclusively at Target, have been recalled. Due to serious safety concerns, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) publicly warned parents about this recall. These kits may cause severe injury or even death if swallowed by children, especially those three years old and younger.
A tragic incident
Sadly, the notice might have come a little too late. Buffalo Games, the manufacturer, reported one infant death and at least one serious injury related to these kits. A 10-month-old in Wisconsin tragically died after swallowing the water beads in July of this year. Another report indicates a 9-month-old suffered a serious intestinal blockage in November 2022 from ingesting the beads.
CPSC chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric warned of the risks associated with water beads. He stated that they will continue to work to address these hazards, which may include updating safety standards.
A danger to kids
Water beads are small and hard to see. Anyone can unknowingly drop them on the floor or in a child’s bowl, with the child accidentally ingesting them. Once ingested, these tiny beads can expand 100 times more in the presence of bodily fluids, potentially causing serious health issues such as:
- Life-threatening intestinal blockages
Ingestion of these beads may, in some cases, necessitate surgical intervention for removal. These severe outcomes, along with other risks associated with the beads, account for thousands of emergency department visits annually.
Even with the recall, a simple warning may not be enough. If a parent has already bought this product, it’s best to keep these beads away from children or to dispose of them completely. Water beads can easily get lost in the home and be accidentally ingested. The safest action is to remove them entirely from the house. However, in more significant cases, parents may be able to bring forward a product liability claim for injuries their children suffered from these beads. Doing so not only protects their rights but also adds to the call for holding the manufacturer accountable for this tragic death.