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The water beads pose serious risks if accidentally ingested, the CPSC says. Other similar water beads are still for sale.
The Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits, sold exclusively by Target, have been recalled, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you own one of the kits, which contain 10,000 expanding water beads, stop using it immediately, keep it away from children, and return it for a full refund, the safety agency says.
About 52,000 of these activity kits were sold, and all are being recalled. The manufacturer, Buffalo Games, has not announced a recall of any other of its similar kits that also contain water beads. Many other brands of similar water beads are also still for sale.
The beads start out as very small, dry seeds that grow into larger, soft gel balls when soaked in water. In the Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits, children are meant to squish, scoop, and sort the water beads, and place them onto activity cards with a pair of tweezers.
The danger is that the water beads, which swell in water, also expand inside the body when swallowed, which can cause vomiting, dehydration, and life-threatening bowel obstruction, according to the CPSC’s release. The agency and the manufacturer have received reports that at least one infant has died, and another has been seriously injured, from accidentally ingesting the water beads.
In November 2022 in Maine, a 9-month-old infant swallowed a water bead from this activity kit and it caused an intestinal obstruction, requiring surgery to remove it. Then, a 10-month-old infant died in Wisconsin after ingesting one in July 2023.
A Chuckle & Roar video advertising this activity kit shows young children scooping the beads into and out of a container, with beads scattered across the table where they are playing.
William Wallace, associate director of safety policy for Consumer Reports, says, “If you have these water bead kits, it’s critical to take part in the recall and return them immediately for a full refund.” He adds, “Why didn’t Buffalo Games recall these kits earlier, after it learned of serious injuries and before a baby died? Why is the company recalling just this kit and not also other similar water bead products? Why didn’t Target do more to reach its customers directly and warn them? The CPSC must get to the bottom of the failures that led to this preventable tragedy, and if it finds that anyone broke the law, it should issue stern penalties to deter future wrongdoing.”
The recall: This recall covers about 52,000 Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits. The kit affected comes in a purple box and can be identified by its UPC number on the back, 079346627035. It includes 2 ounces of “jumbo” water beads and 6 ounces of “regular” water beads. In addition, it features a clear container and lid, five small toy fish, a scissor scoop, tweezers, a scoop with a handle, 10 activity cards, and instructions.
The risk: The water beads in the activity kit pose a risk of serious injury or death if ingested because they can grow inside the body after ingestion and cause intestinal obstruction.
Incidents/injuries: Buffalo Games received one report of a death, involving a 10-month-old infant in Wisconsin in July 2023, and one report of a serious injury involving a 9-month-old infant in Maine in November 2022. Both infants had swallowed one or more of the water beads in this kit.
Where and when sold: This activity kit was sold exclusively in Target stores and on Target.com from March 2022 to November 2022. It cost about $15.
The remedy: Stop using this activity kit immediately and do not allow children to play with its water beads. Contact Buffalo Games for a full refund and instructions about how to return the product (either by requesting a prepaid shipping package from Chuckle & Roar or by taking it to any Target store).
Contact information: To start the remedy process., call Buffalo Games at 800-637-0732, email the company at email@example.com, or go to Chuckle & Roar’s recall website.
To report a defective product, call the CPSC hotline at 800-638-2772 or go to SaferProducts.gov.
Lauren Kirchner is an investigative reporter on the special projects team at Consumer Reports. She has been with CR since 2022, covering product safety. She has previously reported on algorithmic bias, criminal justice, and housing for the Markup and ProPublica, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting in 2017. Send her tips at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @lkirchner.
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