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Expanding Ball Poses Threat To Children

Timothy Haren4 years ago

A brightly colored, bite-sized toy ball that expands to the size of a racquetball in water has been deemed dangerous after an infant swallowed one, according to several news outlets. Doctors are warning that Water Balz, made by DuneCraft Inc. of Ohio, can expand after being swallowed, blocking the digestive tracts of small children.

Water Balz Swallowing Hazard

While parents often go to great lengths to keep small items out of reach, thousands of cases of children being hospitalized for swallowing objects are reported each year. Over 90 percent of swallowed objects pass with ease, with less than 1 percent requiring surgery, the New York Times Family section reports.

Water Balz are easily swallowed, but grow to a size requiring surgery to remove. The situation became public when Texas surgeons reported an 8-month-old girl had to have a ball surgically removed that had grown to a size big enough to block her intestines. The blockage had stopped fluid and gas from passing, causing her abdomen to grow as her intestine distended, until surgery was necessary.

Threat to Children Under 4 and Pets

  • The use of similar super absorbent polymers in toys creates an increased hazard to children and pets.
  • According to Fox News, Water Balz feature warnings on the label that recommend use by children over 3 only. 
  • If not taken care of immediately, the injuries from ingestion can become fatal, Fox News reports.
  • The balls, which start out the size of a marble, can rapidly expand to the size of a racquetball in water.
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