Water beads recalled after 10-month-old child's death

The Consumer Product Safety Commission pulled the Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kit, sold exclusively at Target.

ByMason Leib ABCNews logo
Friday, September 15, 2023
Water beads recalled after baby death
The Consumer Product Safety Commission pulled the Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kit, sold exclusively at Target.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and toy company Buffalo Games announced a recall of roughly 52,000 Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits due to "ingestion, choking and intestinal obstruction hazards."

According to a CPSC release, the company fielded one report of a 10-month-old child's death after swallowing the water beads this summer. Buffalo Games also received a report of a 9-month-old who was seriously injured last November after swallowing the water beads and needed surgery to remove them.

The release asked consumers to discontinue using the water beads, taking them away from children and contacting Buffalo Games for a refund as well as instructions on returning the recalled product by mail or at any Target store.

The product was sold exclusively by Target, in store and online, from March 2022 to November 2022 for close to $15.

In a statement to ABC News, Target said they pulled Buffalo Games' water beads kits from store shelves last year.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to the families affected by these tragic incidents. We no longer sell this product, removing it from stores and online in November of 2022. Guests who purchased this product should immediately return it and contact Target for a full refund," the retailer said.

Investigation: Parents warn about the potential dangers of water beads

Buffalo Games shared a statement about the recall news with ABC News and expressed their "deepest condolences" to the late 10-month-old's family.

"Before selling the Ultimate Water Beads Kit, as we do with every product, Buffalo Games followed CPSC regulations and had the product tested to Children's Product Safety standards by an independent CPSC approved lab," the company also said. "The product passed the tests dictated by the standards, including the ASTM standards for expanding materials. The product is graded for Ages 4+, and carries a choking hazard warning on package."

"Buffalo Games takes customer safety very seriously, and consumers should contact us via email, phone or through the chuckleandroar.com website to return the Ultimate Water Beads to us for a full refund," the company added.

In June 2023, a mother described her 14-month-old having to have a one-inch water bead removed from her small intestine after swallowing one.

In November 2022, the mother of a then 10-month-old who required multiple surgeries and experienced critical complications after swallowing a water bead, opened up to "Good Morning America" about the experience. Folichia Mitchell said she had bought a water beads activity kit for her older child, then 8, but if there had been a warning label advising against the product for younger children, she may not have bought the kit in the first place.

"I do think if they had been labeled properly, and said, 'If ingested, could cause death, could cause blockage, seek medical attention,' any of those warnings, then I may not have even bought them for my 8-year-old," she said. "Bringing something into your home and purchasing it from the store, you have the right to know what to expect or what the dangers or cautions are of anything, and I didn't get that opportunity."

Also in November of 2022, the CPSC tweeted a warning to keep toys with small parts, "Especially, toys like water beads," away from children.

"If ingested, water beads can expand, block intestines, and cause life threatening injuries," read the tweet. The recall release listed similar hazards.

The National Poison Control Center also described water beads as dangerous if swallowed.