Zhu Zhu Pets – Hair-Pulling Hazard?

zhu-zhuLast month, parents were tearing their hair out looking for the elusive Zhu Zhu Pet in toy stores and online.  This month, parents are tearing the coveted toy hamsters from their children’s hair.  The holidays may be over, but the Zhu Zhu pets are creating another hair-raising headline:  Unexpected haircuts.

Across the country, thousands of kids were thrilled to unwrap Zhu Zhu pets, but at least a few parents were less than happy to later find themselves cutting the toy hamsters out of their children’s hair.

Zhu Zhu Pets are powered by a motorized wheel on the bottom of their body, complete with rubber grips that help give the pets their personality.  These little guys go and go.  But when kids put the hamsters up near their hair, there’s definitely a risk of entanglement.

“We had to cut their hair out of these toys as the wheels easily grab their hair, winds it up very fast, leaving us with the only option of cutting their hair out,” New Lenox mom Michelle Verheyen told NBC DFW in an email.  “I… feel that this toy is marketed to young girls, many whom have long hair.  Their hair very, very easily gets caught in the wheels and gets tangled up severely.  I think the product should be recalled.  It is pathetic.”

Verheyen says she had to cut her daughter’s hair three times. A quick Google search of “Zhu Zhu pets hair” turns up several stories about kids getting unexpected Christmas haircuts. Says Amy Bertrand at STLToday.com:

A few days after Christmas, my 3-year-old was playing with his Zhu Zhu pets, which he absolutely loved. He scooted them across the floor, watched them turn in circles and picked one up and ran it across my back. My long hair was down, and as Mr. Squiggles scurried across my back, he became tangled in my hair. Seriously tangled. Not-getting-out-of-there tangled. So, I did the unthinkable: I cut my hair out of it.

Cepia, the company that makes the pets, placed a warning about hair and skin on the toy package, and said in a statement: “Zhu Zhu Pets are marketed for children 4 years of age and older and are designed to be played with on a smooth floor, or in or on specialized Zhu Zhu Pet accessories.”

My own girls each got a Zhu Zhu from their grandma on Christmas Day, and — without seeing the written warning — I realized shortly after removing it from the package that my girls needed a verbal reminder: Don’t put it near your hair. We haven’t had any problems with the pets, which rank high on my kids’ list of favorite gifts this season, but it’s easy to see how problems could happen.

Did your child get a Zhu Zhu during the holiday season? And if so, have you had any problems with it?

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