It’s never advisable for a baby to play with a small ball that could possibly pose a choking risk. But now doctors are warning parents to be especially mindful of a new type of ball on the market called gel balls. Specifically, the brand name is Water Balz which are manufactured by DuneCraft Inc. in Ohio.
Recently, an eight-month-old needed surgery after ingesting a gel ball Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Before they knew the child ingested the ball, her parents had suspected it and became even more worried after reading on the package that the gel balls can expand up to 400 times their original size when placed in water.
The baby began vomiting bile and her belly became distended. Soon after, surgeons cut open her intestine open and extracted a 3.5 centimeter Water Balz.
Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, a pediatric surgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston says that the girl’s intestine had become blocked and required immediate surgery. In a report in the journal Pediatrics, Dr. Olutoye says parents should be on alert:
“The blockage allows fluid and gas to accumulate, it is just like you step on a hose. If this is not taken care of really quickly, there can actually be a perforation… and you can die from it.”
Of course, the makers of the toy say there is no risk when used properly, and that the toy is meant for older children. While DuneCraft’s CEO Grant Cleveland “said he was sorry to learn of the incident, he noted that the Water Balz product already carries warnings on the label”:
“An eight-month-old has no business being near that product. Trying to turn it in to a public risk is absurd.”
Image: Water Balz
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