Last October, a study in Pediatrics, "Water-Absorbing Balls: A "Growing"Problem," reported on a case in which an 8-month-old infant required surgery after swallowing a superabsorbent polymer ball - a rapidly expanding, water-absorbing ball (Water Balz) that can grow up to 400 times their original size. The study highlighted the dangers of this toy, which may appear 'candy-like to young children.' They found that the growing balls can easily grow larger than the small intestine in just six hours, blocking the intestine and quickly leading to a life-threatening medical emergency.
We soon became aware that in addition to Water Balz, these superabsorbent polymer balls could also be found in other toys (Spider Balls), gardening equipment (Crystal Soil Water Beads), and some crafting/household products (Water Pearls). Magic Growing Jelly Balls were even advertised as a 'great party favor.'
This week we have learned of some new recalls of toys that contain these same types of polymer balls, including:
- Monster Science Growing Spider toy sets with marble-sized polymer ball "spider eggs," which were sold at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, Spirit Halloween and Target.
- Cosmo Beads Jumbo Size Colorful Water Balls and Jumbo Multipurpose Colorful Water Balls
If you have these toys, take them away from your kids and contact the manufacturer for a refund.
Remember that kids can easily mistake these balls and beads for candy, and that according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, "When the bead is ingested, it expands and can cause intestinal obstructions inside a child's body, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration and could be life threatening. The toys need surgery to be removed from the body."