A popular toy known as Water Balz poses a risk of serious harm to children in Louisiana. These balls grow dramatically when wet, in part because they are made of super absorbent polymer; they can quickly become as big as a racquetball. The initially tiny toys, however, are very susceptible to being swallowed by children, especially those too young to understand the danger.
When a child swallows a Water Balz, it will start to expand, causing injuries and potentially blocking a child’s breathing passage. A medical journal recently published a case study of a 9-month-old infant who required emergency surgery to remove a Water Balz toy after ingesting it. The tiny toy grew so much that it started to create a blockage in her intestine after it absorbed the fluid in her digestive tract, growing to the size of a golf ball and causing her intense pain.
The fact that small children put tiny objects in their mouth is well known. Thousands of children, unfortunately, are hospitalized or require a variety of medical treatments each year when they swallow small toys and other tiny objects around the house. Children may actually believe these items are candy, not realizing just how dangerous what they’re swallowing is.
For example, in the last 20 years, approximately 66,000 children have swallowed tiny batteries. Moreover, 1,700 children needed emergency medical treatment in just the last three years because they swallowed small rare-earth magnets. These kinds of statistics are frightening, but the high numbers also indicate the need for manufacturers to do a better job of creating child-safe objects. When they don’t, they should be held responsible for the damage they cause.