Water beads – also known as jelly or gel beads, hydro orbs or water orbs – sold as toys can be extremely harmful if swallowed by children. The tiny beads can expand to up to 200 times their size as they absorb water, causing intestinal blockages that can result in catastrophic injuries, even death.
You may have grounds for a lawsuit if your child suffered a severe injury due to ingestion of water beads, which are made of super-absorbent polymers and sold under various brand names, including Orbeez, Giraffe, MarvelBeads and Chuckle & Roar.
Kline & Specter, with more than 50 attorneys, five of whom are also medical doctors – the most in the nation -- has the experience and expertise to litigate water bead cases. The firm has won billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements in product liability cases, some against the largest manufacturers in the United States. Contact us for a free evaluation of your case.
Our attorneys are currently handling a case in which a nine-month-old girl swallowed a single water bead with catastrophic results. After she began acting strangely and not eating, her mother took her to a hospital where imaging tests revealed the massively expanded water bead lodged in her bowel tract. The girl became septic and unresponsive, requiring a ventilator.
Five surgeries followed to remove parts of her bowel. Doctors said that permanent injuries, such as neuro damage and the necessity of a feeding tube, would result.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that the clear, colorful water beads are particularly dangerous because they look like candy and children may swallow them. The beads grow larger as they pass through the intestines and absorb water, often expanding to the size of marbles and even as large as a racquetball. Children may also put them in their ears, in some cases damaging eardrums and requiring surgery to extract the water beads.
The AAP has catalogued several cases in which children have required emergency care after swallowing water beads. It noted reported deaths of children overseas and action by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to seek a voluntary recall of water-absorbing toys sold in various shapes.
Signs that a child may have swallowed water beads and a blockage may have occurred are drooling, vomiting, wheezing, refusal to eat or complaints of feelings that something is stuck in their throat or chest. Other signs include constipation and abdominal pain or swelling.
Kline & Specter handles cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York. For cases outside those states, we work with local attorneys in each state as applicable.