The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Buffalo Games LLC, of Buffalo, New York, jointly announced a voluntary recall Thursday for approximately 52,000 water bead kits over health hazard concerns.
The announcement follows several serious accidents where children have swallowed the kit’s beads, including a 10-month-old child who died as a result.
The popular toy package—Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits, produced by Buffalo Games which had been sold exclusively at Target— contains water beads designed to expand when in contact with water.
When ingested, the beads absorb body fluids, potentially causing intestinal obstruction, CPSC said in a media release.
Target said it stopped selling the activity kits in November last year after a 9-months-old baby from Maine was seriously injured from swallowing the water beads, which caused an intestinal obstruction requiring surgery to remove them.
At the time of the recall, Target said its customers should return the product and contact Target for a full refund.
In July, Buffalo Games received another, more serious, report when a 10-month-old child had died from swallowing the recalled water beads in Wisconsin.
“Consumers should immediately stop using and take away the recalled water beads from children,” CPSC said in its release. “Contact Buffalo Games for a full refund and instructions on how to return the product in a prepaid mailing package supplied by the firm or return the product to any Target store.”
A Las Vegas mother told CBS News a similar story, albeit involving a different water bead kit made by the same company.
Elissa Byer said her then-18-month-old son, accidentally inhaled one of the beads last summer. The bead expanded and obstructed his left lung, endangering his life, she said.
That set has not been recalled. Buffalo Games has not provided any comments on either product.
“You know, we brought these products into our home, thinking that they were safe, thinking that they were educational, thinking that they were a great sensory toy and that they were safe. Who would have thought they would get aspirated into a lung, you know, and grow?” said Ms. Byer.
Many water bead kits from various manufacturers remain available on the market. According to the CPSC, water beads generally pose a real risk for kids, especially those under three years of age.
The recalled Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits were sold exclusively at Target stores all over the United States from March 2022 through November 2022 and online at Target.com. They were priced around $15.
The product was manufactured in China and imported by Target Corporation of Minneapolis, Minnesota, CPSP said.