Water beads are marketed as fun sensory toys for kids but can be deadly to babies and small children if they are ingested. If a water bead is swallowed, the bead expands and can pose choking and intestinal obstruction hazards inside a small child’s body, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration and a risk of death to the child.
In recent months, the Commission has heard from numerous parents whose young children have suffered grievous injuries or death as a result of ingesting water beads. The water beads, generally purchased for older siblings, can be missed during clean up and swallowed days or even weeks later. The children who survived water bead ingestion suffered hospitalizations and surgeries and live with long-term health impacts. I commend these parents for sharing their stories and bringing awareness to the Commission.
Today CPSC is announcing a recall of the Chuckle and Roar Ultimate Water Bead Activity Kits sold at Target. I urge every family that owns one of these sets to immediately stop using them and act on the recall.
The risk, however, is not limited to a single product. All small children who have access to water beads are at risk. CPSC urges all families, schools, camps, and child-care centers to keep water beads out of any spaces that babies and small children may enter.
The Commission will continue to work to address the dangers associated with water beads, and I anticipate that this will include updating the safety standards that are currently in place. Preventing the harms associated with water bead ingestions must be a priority so that other families do not needlessly suffer.