Parents and caregivers should be forewarned this holiday season – some toys that are attractive to oral-age children, including products resembling food or candy, could have small parts that are dangerous.
For example, on December 12, 2013, about 1,500 water-absorbing polymer toys made in China were recalled by Florida distributor Doodlebutt. They were sold on Amazon.com from February 2012 through September 2013 for about $9. These soft and colorful products can be mistaken by a child for candy. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), when swallowed, they can expand inside a child’s body and cause intestinal obstructions, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration and could be life threatening. Similar toys have not shown up on x-rays and needed surgery to be removed from the body.
This recall involves Doodlebutt Jelly BeadZ Jumbo BeadZ and Magic Growing Fruity Fun water-absorbing polymer toys. The toys can absorb from 300 to 500 times their weight in water and can grow up to eight times their original size. CPSC is aware of at least one incident with a similar water-absorbing polymer ball product in which an 8-month-old girl ingested the ball and it had to be surgically removed, and two cases outside of the U.S. with one death.
Sadly, choking and ingestion hazards in children’s toys and other juvenile products account for numerous deaths and injuries each year. A dangerous toy may have been poorly manufactured or designed, misleadingly advertised, inaccurately labeled, or irresponsibly sold to or for children, many of whom are too young to appreciate the toy’s hazards.