Water Beads: Dangerous for Young Children

You’ve probably seen water beads in children’s toys and activity kits or used in sensory activities. These small beads are colorful and almost look like candy.

Unfortunately, water beads present multiple risks for young children. Swallowing them can lead to internal injuries and even death if undetected. These beads are associated with thousands of emergency room visits each year.

What Should Caregivers Know About Water Beads?

Water beads are made of super absorbent polymer. They can grow to 100x their original size when exposed to water, but the dry beads can be the size of a pinhead, making it difficult to find them if they’re dropped.

When the water beads are ingested, they can continue to grow inside the body, sometimes sticking to one another. Swallowing water beads can cause vomiting, dehydration, severe discomfort, intestinal blockages, and life-threatening injuries. Inserting the beads into ears can cause hearing loss and require surgery. If you suspect your child has swallowed or inserted a water bead into their ear or nose, seek medical treatment immediately. You can also call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

Many retailers have pulled water beads from their shelves, but they are still widely available. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that parents and caregivers should remove these products from any environment with small children and urges schools, camps, and childcare providers to avoid the products entirely.

Water Bead Ingestion Signs

Since water beads often look like candy, young children might be tempted to swallow them. The beads may not be visible on x-rays. Here are some signs to be aware of if you’re concerned that your child may have ingested water beads:

  • Refusing to eat
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Wheezing
  • Complaining that something is stuck in throat/chest
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal swelling and soreness

As always, it’s important to remember that a product being available for purchase doesn’t mean it’s safe.

If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.