Water Bead Activity Kits Recalled due to Choking and Ingestion Danger

by | Oct 27, 2023 | Defective Children's Product, Defective Toys, Personal Injury, Product Liability, Product Recall

A recent recall of water bead activity kits is highlighting the choking and ingestion danger associated with water bead toys for children. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the manufacturer, Buffalo Games, LLC, are recalling more than 50,000 Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits after reports of choking and ingestion causing trauma, injuries, and at least one death.

At Kherkher Garcia, our hearts go out to consumers who are impacted by dangerous or defective products. In particular, we believe that manufacturers must be held accountable for injuries to the most vulnerable among us – our children. Below, our children’s product liability lawyers discuss this recall, the choking and ingestion danger, and how consumers can reduce the risks and get help.

Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kit Recall

According to the CPSC report, the Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits are dangerous due to the risk for choking, ingestion, and intestinal obstruction. Water beads, also known as water-absorbing polymer beads, are small, colorful, and often enticing for young children to play with. They start out very small and grow when exposed to liquids.

At least one child has died due to these beads after swallowing them, and other injuries have been reported. In 2022, a 9-month-old swallowed a bead from the Chuckle & Roar kit causing a serious intestinal obstruction. Surgery was required to remove the bead. In 2023, a 10-month-old died after ingesting one of the beads. It is unknown how many other injuries may have occurred due to this product.

Families who have the Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits are urged to stop use immediately and remove the product from children’s reach. Buffalo Games is offering a full refund on the products, with information available on their website. Parents can identify that they have the recalled product by the following:

  • Purple container stating “Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kit”
  • UPC Number: 079346627035
  • Purchased at Target between March 2022 and November 2022

Choking and Ingestion Danger of Water Beads

Water beads, also known as water-absorbing polymer beads, are small, colorful, and often enticing for young children to play with. While they are generally considered safe for older children and adults when used as intended, they can pose a choking and ingestion danger for young children. Here are some of the dangers associated with water beads as a choking hazard:

  • Size: Water beads can be quite small, often less than 1/4 inch in diameter when fully hydrated. This makes them the perfect size to fit into a child’s mouth and potentially become lodged in their throat.
  • Attraction: The bright and colorful appearance of water beads can be highly attractive to young children, encouraging them to put them in their mouths out of curiosity.
  • Swelling when Ingested: If a child swallows a dry water bead, it can continue to absorb water from their saliva or stomach, causing it to expand. This can increase the risk of the bead becoming stuck in the child’s airway, leading to choking.
  • Difficulty in Detecting: Water beads are transparent and can be challenging for parents or caregivers to notice if a child is playing with them or has placed them in their mouth.
  • Lack of Awareness: Young children may not fully understand the dangers of swallowing small objects, and their impulse to explore the world by putting objects in their mouths can put them at risk.

How to Reduce Choking Hazards

To mitigate the choking hazards associated with water beads, it’s essential to take the following safety precautions:

  • Keep Out of Reach: Store water beads in a secure container and keep it out of reach of young children.
  • Supervision: Always supervise young children when playing with water beads to ensure they do not put them in their mouths.
  • Educate Children: Teach children about the potential dangers of putting small objects in their mouths and the importance of not doing so.
  • Use with Care: If you choose to use water beads with young children, ensure they are fully hydrated and monitor the play session closely.
  • Age-Appropriate Toys: Provide age-appropriate toys and activities that are designed to be safe for children of different age groups. Unfortunately, in cases like the water bead recall, the products are intended for young children.

By taking these precautions and educating children about the risks associated with small objects like water beads, you can help reduce the likelihood of choking incidents and keep them safe during playtime.

Ingestion Hazards Associated with Water Beads

Water beads are generally considered safe for older children and adults, and though they are marketed for children, they can be dangerous when ingested. There are several dangers associated with their ingestion that parents should be aware of:

  • Swelling in the Digestive System: Water beads are designed to absorb water and can expand significantly when ingested. If a child swallows dry water beads, they can continue to absorb fluids from the digestive system, potentially leading to gastrointestinal distress or blockages. This can cause discomfort, pain, and digestive issues.
  • Obstruction and Choking: When water beads expand in the digestive tract, they can obstruct the gastrointestinal passage. This can result in choking, vomiting, or difficulty breathing, which can be life-threatening.
  • Toxic Substances: Some water beads are made with materials that may contain toxic substances or chemicals. If ingested, these substances can pose serious health risks.
  • Unknown Origins: Water beads purchased from unknown or unreliable sources may not meet safety standards and could contain harmful substances or impurities, increasing the risks of ingestion hazards.
  • Difficulty in Diagnosis: Water beads are often transparent and can be challenging to detect in X-rays or medical examinations, making it difficult for medical professionals to determine the cause of a child’s distress if they have ingested the beads.

How to Reduce Ingestion Hazards

To prevent the ingestion hazards associated with water beads, it is crucial to take the following safety measures:

  • Keep Out of Reach: Store water beads in a secure container – one that closes and is not easy for children to open – out of the reach of children.
  • Supervision: Always supervise children, no matter how old they are, when they are playing with water beads. Be diligent to ensure they do not put them in their mouths.
  • Educate Children: Teach older children about the dangers of swallowing small objects. Emphasize the importance of not putting small objects in their mouths, even if they seem too small to cause harm.
  • Hydrate Properly: If you choose to use water beads with children, ensure they are fully hydrated according to the manufacturer’s instructions and do not let them dry out, as dry beads are more likely to be ingested and can expand inside the digestive system.
  • Purchase from Reputable Sources: Buy water beads from reputable manufacturers or suppliers to ensure they meet safety standards and are free from harmful substances.

Taking these precautions can help reduce the risk of ingestion hazards associated with water beads and keep children safe during playtime. If a child does ingest water beads or experiences any adverse symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

What to do if a Child Ingests Water Beads

If your child ingests, or swallows, water beads, it is essential to take prompt action to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Here are the steps to follow:

Assess the Situation

Assess the child’s condition and the extent of any injuries. Ensure that the child is in a safe and stable position. If the child is experiencing severe symptoms, such as choking, difficulty breathing, or severe pain, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately for professional medical assistance. Describe the situation and follow any instructions provided by the emergency dispatcher.

Do Not Induce Vomiting

If the child has ingested water beads, do not attempt to induce vomiting unless specifically instructed to do so by a healthcare professional or emergency personnel. Inducing vomiting can sometimes make the situation worse.

Offer Reassurance

Keep the child calm and offer reassurance. Encourage them to breathe slowly and deeply if they are conscious and able to do so.

Do Not Attempt to Remove Beads

Do not attempt to remove water beads from the child’s mouth or throat with your fingers or any tools, as this may cause further harm. Let medical professionals handle any necessary procedures.

Provide Information

Be prepared to provide information about the child’s age, weight, any known allergies, and any other relevant medical history to medical professionals.

Be Prepared

Once medical help arrives, follow their advice and instructions. Be prepared for the child to undergo medical evaluations and treatments as necessary. Ingesting water beads may require imaging, such as an x-ray or CT scan to identify possible obstruction. Treatment may include surgery to remove beads or correct intestinal damage.

Remember that it is crucial to act quickly and seek professional medical help when a child ingests water beads or any other foreign objects. The guidance provided here is for informational purposes, and professional medical advice should always be sought in emergency situations.

Get Help if Your Child is Injured by a Dangerous Product

If your child has been injured due to a dangerous or defective children’s product, it is essential to take action to protect their rights and wellbeing, and seek justice. Contacting the children’s product liability lawyers at Kherkher Garcia can provide the help that you need to accomplish these goals. Any choking and ingestion danger should be taken seriously, and parents should know that they have rights and options.

At Kherkher Garcia, our lawyers can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that those responsible for the injury are held accountable. Contact our skilled team for a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Call us at 713-333-1030, or submit our online contact form to get started.

Image by Buffalo Games, LLC

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Jesus Garcia

Jesus Garcia

Founding Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Founding Firm Partner Jesus Garcia. Jesus has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 20 years. He has won $150 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. He is a force of nature in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been seriously injured at work or on the road. Abogado Jesus Garcia is bilingual and passionate about being the voice in the courtroom for the spanish speaking community here in Houston, across the state of Texas, and throughout the Nation.

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