More than 50,000 Chuckle & Roar Water Beads Activity Kits are being recalled after a 10-month-old child reportedly swallowed one of the water beads and died earlier this year.
The death follows a November 2022 incident in which a 9-month-old child was seriously injured after swallowing water beads, which absorb moisture and increase in size. The beads caused an intestinal obstruction requiring surgical treatment.
The 52,000 water beads activity kits by Buffalo Games were sold exclusively by Target, both in-store and online, from March to November 2022 for about $15.
A recall notice published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said a 10-month-old child died in July after swallowing one of the recalled water beads.
“Water beads are marketed as fun sensory toys for kids but can be deadly to babies and small children if they are ingested,” CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric said in a statement. “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.”
If ingested, the water beads grow and cause intestinal obstruction hazards, which can result in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration and a risk of death.
“Stop using water beads, get them out of your home immediately and search any areas in which stray beads may have unintentionally been scattered during play,” CPSC Commission Richard Trumka said in a statement. “Note that when not submerged in water, water beads can shrink to the size of grains of rice. However, if your child or pet swallows one, they will expand and can cause deadly intestinal obstructions.”
Consumer should contact Buffalo Games at 800-637-0732 or email email@example.com for refund information and instructions on how to return the product in a prepaid mailing package. The water bead kits can also be returned to any Target store.
The Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits includes 2 ounces of “jumbo” water beads and 6 ounces of “regular” water beads. Along with a clear container and lid, there are five small toy fish, a scissor scoop, tweezer, a scoop with a handle, 10 activity cards and instructions. The activity kit was sold in a purple box with UPC Number 079346627035 on the back.
Though the recall only involves one type of water bead set, CPSC Commissioners urged parents and caregivers to take precautions with any such toy, and didn’t rule out future recalls.
“While this is the Commission’s first water bead recall, similar products remain available across a variety of retail platforms,” CPSC Commissioner Peter A. Feldman said in a statement. “In May, the Commission received testimony about the unique obstruction hazard this product category may present to children. The Commission will be monitoring this class of products and will weigh all available actions it can take to protect consumers.”