Recall of Toys That Expand in Water

The toys can grow to 400 times their initial size, causing an intestinal blockage if swallowed by a child

By Sharon Bernstein
|  Monday, Dec 17, 2012  |  Updated 2:32 PM EDT
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Recall of Toys That Expand in Water

Toys that expand in liquid, including Water Balz by Ohio-based Dunecraft, have been recalled by consumer protection officials in the U.S. and Canada.

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A recall was announced Monday for several types of children’s toys that expand when placed in water.

The little toys, which start out small but grow larger when infused with liquid, can be particularly dangerous for children, officials with the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

The recall includes toys marketed under the names of Water Balz, Skulls, Orbs and Flower Toys, made by the Cleveland, Ohio, company Dunecraft. Among them is a toy named after the film “Despicable Me.”

The toys start out about the size of a marble, the agency said, posing a choking hazard. But beyond that, they expand once they come in contact with liquids in the body, exposing children to additional risk.

“When the marble-sized toy is ingested, it expands inside the body and causes a blockage in the small intestine,” the agency said. The toy grows to 400 times its original size, causing vomiting, severe discomfort, and dehydration. The blockage can be life-threatening.

“The toys do not show up on an x-ray, and require surgery to be removed from the body,” the agency said.

An eight-month-old girl from Humble, Texas, swallowed one of the Water Balz models, and required an operation, the consumer regulatory agency said.

About 94,700 of the toys were sold in the United States and 600 in Canada, officials said. They were sold in packages of six in green, yellow, red, blue and black colors, the agency said. They were sold at numerous retailers, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Lakeshore Learning Materials and Amazon.com.

The “Despicable Me” toys were sold exclusively at Universal Studios during June of 2012. Universal Studios, like NBC4, is owned by Comcast.

For more details, including the model numbers of the packages being recalled and a full list of retailers where they were sold, click here for the Consumer Product Safety Commission press release.

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