Doctors Warn of Threat to Toddlers from Gel Balls
Texas doctors are warning about the risk to toddlers from colored gel balls, small toys that can grow up to the size of a racquet ball once they absorb water.
Pediatric surgeons recently operated on an eight-month old girl who accidently swallowed a gel ball that expanded until it caused an intestinal blockage, reports Reuters Health. The case – the first in humans -- was reported in the journal Pediatrics.
The small colored gel balls are marketed as Water Balz by Ohio-based DuneCraft Inc. and can expand up to 400 times when placed in water, according to Reuters.
DuneCraft's CEO Grant Cleveland said that the product already carries a warning that it’s not meant for children less than 3 years of age. However, parents and doctors both need to be aware of the potential harm the gel balls pose to young children who accidentally ingest one.
A blockage caused by a gel ball may allow gas and fluid to collect in the intestines, writes Reuters. If not treated in time it could lead to rupture of the intestines, which could be fatal.