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Gel Balls Could be Dangerous to Small Kids

Courtesy DuneCraft Inc.

First it was tiny magnets, then it was detergent pods. Now gel balls, water-absorbing playthings that can be ingested by little kids, are the latest household hazard doctors are warning parents about.

Sold under the name WaterBalz by Ohio-based DuneCraft Inc., the polymer balls, marketed as a science toy for kids 3 and up, can grow up to 400 times their size in water. If ingested, they can expand and get stuck in the digestive tract, as they did for an 8-month-old girl in Texas, who needed to have the racquetball-size toy surgically removed from her intestine.

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While no one calling for a ban of the product yet, the new warning re-ignites the debate over where public health ends and parental monitoring begins. Many say it’s a parent’s responsibility to keep age-inappropriate products away from small children, and common sense is needed – not consumer protection.

Where do you stand? Have you ever experienced a scary incident with a household hazard? Leave a comment.