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Danger in Some Toys

September 24, 2012
Plain English Version

Doctors are warning parents about a product that may be dangerous to children.  The toy is called WaterBalz. They are the size of marbles at first. But they get much bigger when they get wet as WaterBalz are made to absorb liquid.

The WaterBalz are made of water-absorbing polymers. In water they can double in size within two hours. The company claims the toy can grow to 400 times its original size. They said they are for use by children 4 years of age and older. But younger children can easily get to them.

The toy is very popular. However, if children swallow them they can get big enough to cause blockage in the  digestive tract. One infant needed surgery to have a WaterBalz removed.

Children swallow many things that are not food — coins, paper clips, and jewelry. Usually, they pass safely through the digestive system.

However, toys such as Buckyballs are made from magnets Since 2009, there have been 1,700 cases of swallowing magnets that resulted in emergency care. Small batteries can be harmful as well.

Parents should be alert to these and other small toys.

The New York Times

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