Buffalo Games, the manufacturer responsible for Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits, has initiated a significant product recall following a tragic incident in which a 10-month-old child lost their life due to ingesting these water beads. Additionally, there have been previous instances of injuries associated with this product. Over the course of the past five years, a determined parent has been advocating for the removal of this item from households with young children and pets. Her efforts stem from a 2017 incident in which water beads caused her daughter to suffer severe injuries and poisoning.
Water Beads, also known by various names such as gel beads, jelly beads, crystal soil, and hydro orbs, are spherical structures composed of a unique polymer with the capacity to absorb water and swell to a size up to 1,500 times their original dimensions. These products are frequently marketed by companies as sensory play items designed for children dealing with developmental challenges. In their dehydrated state, these beads can be as minuscule as a pinhead, making them inconspicuous, but upon hydration, they can expand significantly, potentially leading to blockages in the digestive system. Children might mistake these colorful pieces for candy, insert them into their noses or ears, and there’s also a risk of inhalation, which could result in potential obstruction of the airways.
Detecting the presence of this product in medical imaging examinations can be quite challenging, making it prone to being overlooked in X-rays and other diagnostic tests. Removing these beads often necessitates surgical intervention, although they may not always remain intact during the procedure, potentially leading to additional complications.
Companies marketing Water Beads typically label their polymer as “non-toxic.” However, HealthyChildren.org raises concerns about the product containing a chemical known as acrylamide, which may pose risks. This compound, naturally occurring in small quantities in high-carbohydrate foods cooked at elevated temperatures, is also an industrial substance used in the manufacturing of plastics, cosmetics, water treatment products, and grouts. Furthermore, it can be found in cigarette smoke.
The CDC cautions that acrylamide has an impact on the nervous system, and substantial exposure can result in symptoms such as weakness, numbness, and instability. Furthermore, research has established the chemical’s hazardous effects on animals, leading to various forms of cancer and male infertility. However, it remains uncertain whether these same effects manifest in humans.
Buffalo Games is providing complete reimbursements for the recalled product. Parents who are concerned can get in touch with the company directly for guidance or return the kits to Target, the exclusive retailer that stocked them. It’s worth noting that Chuckle & Roar Water Beads are manufactured in China.