If you’re the parent of a young child, you’re probably familiar with water beads. These tiny, colorful balls are placed in water, where they expand into squeezable balls the size of a marble. Most parents know these toys can be difficult to clean up — but the dangers of water beads are far more serious than a mess at the kitchen table.
To small children, the bright color and squishy texture of water beads can resemble candy. A number of children have made the mistake of trying to eat the popular toy. Tragically, after a child has ingested water beads, toxic brain injury and even death can result.
If your child’s health has been harmed after consuming water beads, the dedicated product liability lawyers at Dunn Sheehan LLP can help you recover compensation. Our lawyers fight for the compensation you deserve to cover your medical expenses and other losses related to your child’s water beads injury.
Call Dunn Sheehan LLP to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Dallas product liability lawyer today.
What Are Water Beads?
Water beads are a common children’s toy. The beads are sold as tiny balls made of superabsorbent polymer crystals. When placed in water, they swell to several times their original size. Water beads were introduced to the toy market in 2004. Over the past 20 years, they have exploded in popularity.
Water beads are advertised as an aid for sensory play and are often marketed to young children and toddlers. Parents can purchase themed water bead sensory bins, and the internet abounds with articles and blog posts on how to use the popular toy to aid in teaching young children color recognition, counting, and other early development skills.
Some of the most popular brands of water beads include:
- Sensory Elements
- Aqua Dots
Water beads go by many names. In some cases, water beads have become synonymous with their brand name, like Orbeez.
Other terms water beads might be labeled by include:
- Jelly beads
- Gel beads
- Hydro orbs
- Water orbs
- Polymer beads
Regardless of the brand or labeling, the dangers of water beads can involve significant and possibly fatal risks to young children upon consumption.
How Can Water Beads Harm My Child’s Health?
Swallowing Orbeez or any other brand of water beads can result in serious or fatal health conditions. When a child is harmed by a product like water beads, it can be reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Reports published by the CPSC indicate that the most significant health risk associated with water bead consumption is bowel obstruction. This condition can lead to additional health complications, such as toxic brain injury, and puts young children at high risk of death.
So far, there has been at least one documented death associated with water bead consumption. However, several children have come close to dying after consuming water beads, while others will live the rest of their lives with life-altering health consequences like a severe brain injury.
Water Beads and Bowel Obstruction
Water beads are made of absorbent polymer crystals. Depending on the brand, they can swell up to 200 times their original size. When a young child consumes a water bead, it can continue absorbing water and growing in size while in the stomach or intestines.
As a result, one of the most common serious complications of water bead consumption is bowel obstruction.
Bowel obstruction can be deadly and requires immediate surgery. In the many cases involving children who experienced bowel obstruction after consuming water beads, treatment often required multiple surgeries and led to severe or lasting health complications.
Water Beads and Toxic Brain Injury
Water beads are often advertised as “non-toxic.” However, these beads are frequently made from petroleum products that are not safe for human consumption. Water bead ingredients can include acrylics like polyacrylate and acrylamide.
There’s at least one case in which a child suffered a brain injury after consuming water beads. The child underwent successful surgery for bowel obstruction once water beads consumption was recognized as the primary health issue.
However, her doctors then identified that she had suffered permanent brain damage due to the acrylamide contained in the water beads she had consumed.
Water Beads and Other Health Complications
One other primary health risk with water beads is the damage they can cause if placed in the ears. There have been multiple cases of young children placing water beads in their ears and suffering lasting harm as a result. Water beads placed in the ears require surgical removal and have resulted in severe and permanent loss of hearing.
No matter the form of consumption, removing water beads from a child’s body is no easy feat. Because the beads are so small, children often swallow several beads. The presence of multiple beads often results in the need for multiple surgeries before they are all removed.
Additionally, many of the children who have undergone water bead removal surgery have experienced significant health complications. Serious infections are commonly seen after these surgeries.
In one case, a six-month-old died as a result of infection after surgery. In another case, multiple surgeries led to the need for a child to live with a feeding tube.
Signs of Water Bead Ingestion
The high risk of bowel obstruction means that consuming water beads puts a child at immediate risk of death. Surgical intervention is often required to remove water beads from a child’s intestinal tract.
Some of the most common signs of water bead ingestion include:
- Abdominal swelling
- Stomach pain
- Lethargic behavior
- Lack of appetite
Water beads can get stuck in the throat or chest area. In this case, a child may make wheezing sounds or complain of pain in the chest or throat. If you suspect your child has consumed water beads, they need emergency medical care.
Obtaining Water Beads Injury Compensation
Water beads can cause serious harm to a child’s health. Water bead consumption has been linked to death, brain injury, loss of hearing, and serious health complications. Even when a full recovery is possible, treatment can require multiple rounds of surgery.
A lawyer can’t restore your child’s health, but they can fight for fair compensation to ease the burden of the medical costs your family may shoulder. A water bead product liability claim can provide a family with compensation for losses that include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical costs
- Lost wages from time off work
- Medical devices
- Therapy costs
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
If your child’s health has been harmed by water beads, it’s essential to contact a product liability lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer will work with you to collect evidence of how the water beads harmed your child, as well as any long-term impact on their health and quality of life.
They’ll also work with you to identify a case value by considering the total financial and non-financial impact of the injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Water Beads Dangerous?
Water beads can be dangerous when swallowed and can lead to death. Consuming water beads lead to bowel obstruction and may in some circumstances also result in infection, brain injury, and other health complications. Placing water beads in the ear can lead to the need for surgery and can result in loss of hearing.
What Happens if You Swallow a Water Bead?
Swallowing a water bead can lead to bowel obstruction, a life-threatening health emergency. Treatment may involve multiple surgeries and can lead to long-term health complications.
Can You Die From Eating Orbeez?
Death is a risk of consuming water beads, including Orbeez. Death and several serious health conditions have resulted from water bead consumption, and at least one child has died from eating water beads. Water beads continue swelling in the stomach when consumed, which can lead to bowel obstruction.
Seek Legal Help for Your Child’s Water Beads Injury Today
If your child suffered harm due to ingesting water beads, you may be eligible for compensation. A product liability lawyer can determine your legal options and how much compensation your family is entitled to for your child’s water beads injury.
Time is limited for taking action over a water beads injury. To protect your family’s finances, it is vital to speak with a product liability lawyer as soon as possible.