Are Silly Bandz Dangerous?

Just days after I wrote about how some schools were banning Silly Bandz, my daughters informed me that their teachers have joined the “banned wagon.” Tired of chiding kids for fiddling with Silly Bandz during class, their teachers ordered them to leave the colorful rubber bracelets at home or at least save them for recess.

And now Fox News’ Dr. Manny Alvarez (a.k.a. Dr. Manny) says that Silly Bandz are not only distracting at school, but they’re also potentially dangerous. Dr. Manny became concerned when he noticed that his young daughter’s hand was turning white. The problem? She was wearing more than a 100 Silly Bandz around her wrist.

Unlike other toy crazes like collecting baseball cards, for instance — Silly Bandz, which have swept the nation’s schools in the past month – can potentially cause serious harm.

The bracelets “may be a health hazard that could potentially cause a constriction of blood flow to the hand,” said Dr. Manny.

Dr. Gregory Simonian, chief of endovascular surgery and director of the Heart Vascular Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center, confirmed that the bracelets could constrict blood flow.

Since veins leaving the hand are low pressure, it doesn’t take much, especially on a child, to constrict the flow.

“These bands could cause what we call a tourniquet effect that can cause your veins to get congested. The bracelets could cause blood clots to form in some of the veins, giving someone a phlebitis, which is an inflammation and clotting of the vein,” said Dr. Simonian.

There’s an increased risk if kids wear numerous Silly Bandz for hours at a time, or if they wear them to sleep at night. So you might have to put your foot down and make your kid remove them at bed time even if it means a temper tantrum.

The warning label on the back of the Silly Bandz package says it contains choking hazards, small parts, and is not suitable for children under 3 years of age. There’s no mention of potentially cutting off circulation – but then again, the company probably didn’t count on kids wearing hundreds of the bracelets at one time! Kids are competing for who has more of the bracelets and they’re cheap enough that parents can indulge them.

Chances are that wearing a few rubber bracelets won’t cause any problems, but parents should keep an eye out for symptoms such as arm swelling, numbness, tingling or color change. Cut the bracelets off immediately if any of the above occurs – and if your kids freak out, promise to buy them a Hexbug Nano, the electronic bugs that resemble cockroaches and seem destined to surpass Silly Bandz as the next toy craze.

Photo: SillyBandz.com

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