Water beads are multicolored, water-absorbing balls sold as children’s toys and look like sweets in certain forms. However, campaigners and a government agency warn that the goods are dangerous to young children and even possibly lethal if eaten since they may expand to many times their original size once inside a child’s body.
That’s why parents and the head of the Consumer Products Safety Commission are behind a congressman’s idea to propose legislation prohibiting water beads marketed for kids.
Consumer Reports discovered enlarged water beads—often purchased for older siblings—in newborn’s and toddlers’ lungs, ears, nostrils, and stomachs. Since 2017, water beads have reportedly caused 4,500 trips to hospital emergency rooms, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Ashley Haugen took her then-infant daughter Kipley to the emergency room once in 2017.
Haugen, a native Texan and the brains behind the advocacy group That Water Bead Lady, spoke about her experience at a news conference on Monday to promote the legislation of New Jersey Democrat Representative Frank Pallone.
Kipley made a full recovery from the ordeal, although she needed surgery and a lot of attention after that.
According to Consumer Reports and the CPSC, which has issued public warnings concerning water beads and recalled many goods, Pallone’s measure, slated to be submitted this week, is the quickest approach to safeguard children nationwide.
Children’s toy sets and associated goods using water beads are on sale at all three major retailer sites.
Water beads are particularly troublesome because they are not metallic and are more difficult to detect in X-rays.
When she went to check on her 10-month-old baby, Taylor Bethard said, “I stepped into the unspeakable.” “She wasn’t breathing, she didn’t have a pulse, and my children stared in horror as I shouted and started CPR on my newborn,” Bethard said. “Our dear Esther Jo passed away, and it’s all because of a toy.”
A third mother shared her anxiety over the availability of potentially dangerous items for youngsters.
“Imagine the anxiety of walking into the store and seeing these sorts of things, water beads, that you know are lethal lying on the shelf directly targeting families and children,” said a mother from Maine, whose infant died after swallowing water beads in November 2022.