Georgia Poison Control warns parents about water beads toy

GEORGIA — The Georgia Poison Center and federal consumer product safety officials report a growing number of cases of young children becoming ill and, in some cases, suffering serious internal injuries after ingesting “water beads”.

The popular craft toys, which could be mistaken for candy are small polymer balls that absorb water and expand. After they are swallowed, they can quickly grow and block the intestinal tract.

“They look non-descript. These easily look like candy and just one can grow to the size of a racquetball,” Georgia Poison Center Director Dr. Gaylord Lopez said.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Lopez says the poison center received 85 calls related to water beads last year.

That’s up from 55 the previous year.

In the last three years, those calls have totaled nearly 500.

“We had one ingestion of up to 100 (water beads). We have had people complaining of children vomiting, coughing. They have even had to have surgical procedures to remove these because of the blockage that can occur in the intestinal tract.” said Dr. Lopez

Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued an alert on the potential dangers of water beads.

The agency reported nearly 8 thousand child hospitalizations in recent years and one death.


“Over eighty percent of the calls to us involve children under the age of six,” Lopez said.

Lopez said parents with young children should not have water beads in the home.

Last month, several large retailers including Walmart and Target stopped selling water beads.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]


Comments on this article