Water beads may be fun to hold and play with, but like any toy with small parts, they can be dangerous for young children.
This is the claim parents have made in a federal lawsuit filed in October, alleging that the toy company behind Orbeez water beads didn’t put warning labels on its products that adequately describe their safety risks. The parents claimed that while the products had “choking risk” labels, they didn’t completely warn about the more serious risks water beads pose. The complaint continued, saying the incomplete warning amounts to deceptive advertising since the labels lead parents to believe there aren’t any more risks.
In addition to the incomplete warning labels, the lawsuit alleged that the beads were made from a material that makes them nearly impossible to see on an x-ray. The parents argued that this makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose a child who may have ingested a bead. The lawsuit added that the manufacturer should’ve mentioned this risk on the warning labels.
The risks of water beads
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, water beads are dangerous to children for several reasons, apart from choking:
- Dry beads are small: When they’re dry, they are as tiny as pinheads, making them difficult to see if they’re dropped on the floor or any other surface. Their small size also increases the risk of accidental ingestion.
- Water beads continue growing after ingestion: They will keep growing as they absorb liquid from within the body. They can cause dehydration, discomfort, nausea, and even intestinal blockage.
- Kids can insert a bead into their ears: Mouths and noses aren’t the only orifice children will stick the beads into. The beads can damage the inner structure of an ear, causing hearing loss.
The federal agency recommended keeping water bead toys away from children three years old and younger. If left unattended, ingested beads can cause serious injury or death.
Responding to a water bead-related injury
If you’re a parent or guardian of a child who has ingested or stuck a water bead inside their body, it’s important to act fast. The child will need immediate medical attention, and if they can pinpoint exactly how they got the bead inside them, the better for treating doctors.
In the worst cases, doctors may resort to surgery to remove a water bead inside a child’s body.
After treatment, you should consider filing a product liability lawsuit against the water bead manufacturer for the injuries they’ve caused to your child – especially if the product lacked enough warnings on its labels. Consult a legal professional to learn if you have enough evidence and material to back your case before filing a lawsuit.