“If a water bead is ingested, it expands and can pose ingestion, choking and intestinal obstruction hazards inside a child’s body, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration and a risk of death to a child,” the commission said in a news release.
Another incident occurred last November, when a 9-month-old in Maine was seriously injured after swallowing the beads. The beads caused “intestinal obstruction requiring surgery to remove them,” according to the news release.
In that case, the child’s mother, Folichia Mitchell, told Good Morning America that she bought the beads for her 8-year-old son. Despite putting them on the kitchen table — assuming they would be out of reach of her infant daughter — the baby began vomiting days later, she said.
Hospital tests revealed a large round object in the baby’s stomach, she said. It was a water bead.
Five surgeries followed — one to remove the bead and four others to address infections from the intestinal blockage.
Water beads are typically made of super-absorbent polymers, a synthetic substance that can grow to the size of a marble — or a tennis ball — after exposure to water, according to the National Capital Poison Center. The beads help keep plants hydrated, but are also used in children’s toys, which use nontoxic super-absorbent polymers.
The recall only involves the Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kit by Buffalo Games, which are sold exclusively by Target. The kit is sold in a purple box with a UPC Number 079346627035 on the back.