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CPSC Announces Results of Investigation of Yo-Yo Water Ball Toys

Release Date: September 24, 2003

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission believes there is a low but potential risk of strangulation from the yo-yo water ball toy. The stretchy cord of the toy can wrap around a child's neck when the child swings the toy overhead like a lasso. Parents who are concerned about this risk could, in addition to closely supervising the use of this toy, cut the cord off the toy (leaving a squishy toy ball for children to play with) or throw the toy away.

The Commission has received 186 reports of incidents in which the yo-yo ball toy's cord wrapped around a child's neck. In all cases, a parent or child successfully removed the cord from the child's neck. Although there were no lasting injuries, seven cases reported broken blood vessels affecting eyes, eyelids, cheeks, neck, scalp or the area behind the ears. CPSC staff realizes that the reported incidents are uncomfortable and anxiety-provoking events for children and adults. However, based on information currently available, the CPSC staff has concluded that the toy poses a low risk of strangulation, especially for younger children. Based on the pattern of incidents, the number of products involved, the low likelihood of strangulation, and the technical staff's assessment of the risk of injury presented by the product, the yo-yo water ball toy does not meet congressionally mandated standards for product recall.

The Commission also investigated reports of potential toxicity from the liquid inside the toy and flammability from a flame test of the yo-yo ball toy. CPSC staff found no toxicity or flammability concerns.

We believe that parents should exercise caution in allowing children to play with this toy, said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. The Commission will continue to monitor incidents involving the yo-yo waterball toy.

Based on information from industry sources, CPSC believes that over the last year, there have been approximately 11-15 million yo-yo ball toys distributed in the U.S., selling for between $1 and $5. The toys are made of rubber-like material and consist of a liquid-filled ball with a stretchy cord that has a small finger loop at the end. The cord is highly elastic and can be stretched to more than three feet.

CPSC is aware that some major retailers (for example, Toys R Us, Walgreen's, and Saks) have unilaterally stopped selling the yo-yo ball toys.

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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