The Doctors: Water Balz Choking Hazard for Kids & CPSC Investigation

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The Doctors: Expandable Balls Are a Choking Hazard

The Doctors’ new investigative reporter Melanie Woodrow looked into a instance of a child choking on an expandable toy ball.

Aunraya Connolly is too young to remember it, but when she was eight months old she swallowed a colorful ball that belonged to her older sister.

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Poison control said it was non-toxic and shouldn’t be a problem, and that her stomach acid should eat it. Within hours, Aunraya was vomiting and listless. After taking her to two hospitals, Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye discovered in an x-ray that Aunraya’s small intestine was distended.

Water Balz Grow to 400 Times Their Size in Water

They couldn’t tell what was making her intestine do it, because the ball did not show up in the x-ray. Aunraya’s grandmother thinks she swallowed the ball thinking it was candy, as the colors and size of the balls were almost identical to Skittles or M&Ms.

The Doctors: Water Balz Choking Hazard & CPSC Investigation

“Water Balz” toys look identical to small round candy, and led Aunraya Connolly to swallow one. When the balls hit water, they begin to expand to 400 times their original size.

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The ball Aunraya swallowed is an “educational toy” according to the CEO, and in water they grow 400 times their original size. It did the same thing in her body, and was three and a half centimeters when Dr. Olutoye surgically removed it.

Dr. Olutoye said that if he hadn’t removed it, the ball would have continued to grow and her intestine could have ruptured, which can be fatal.

The Doctors: Water Balz CPSC Investigation

Aunraya’s family wants other people to be aware of this, so that it doesn’t happen to their children. The Doctors contacted an agency that deals with toy safety, and they responded:

“CPSC has opened an investigation into a serious incident involving a child who swallowed a “Water Balz,” a toy ball that increases in size when it absorbs water.”

– Patt Davis, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Office of Communications

The Water Balz CEO told Woodrow that he would be willing to implement any changes needed.

The Doctors: Water Balz Look Identical to Round, Colorful Candies

Woodrow joined Dr. Travis Stork and he welcomed her to the team. Woodrow will now handle all the investigations on The Doctors.

Dr. Stork was appalled at how similar this toy looks to candy. The Water Balz, which are made of a polymer, are also pretty see-through which is why they didn’t show up on the x-ray.

Aunraya is doing okay now – she’s almost two-years-old and has no long term complications.

The Doctors: Parents Need to Watch What Their Kids Play With

Dr. Stork wondered how we can prevent this from happening, because obviously the company didn’t intend for this to happen. Woodrow said parents think the company needs to more properly label their product and put a warning on it.

The packaging has a label on it that says not for children under 36 months, and it also has another sign that says “warning, choking hazard.”

Dr. Stork urged parents to never buy things like this that their young kids might put in their mouth.

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