Major Retailers Turn Back on Dangerous Child’s Toy

( – Several retailers have committed to stop selling a popular children’s toy in the face of pressure from safety groups that have expressed concern that the toys are particularly dangerous, especially for smaller children.

Water beads, or more commonly known as Orbeez, will no longer be sold by retailers like Target, Walmart, or Amazon. The small beads may look innocuous, but once they come into contact with water or any liquid, they expand exponentially. At least one death has been attributed to an accidental swallowing of the beads.

In August this year, 10-month-old Baby Esther died after ingesting one of the beads, according to her mother, Taylor Bethard. The toy was part of an activity kit called Chuckle & Roar, which at the time was readily available at Target. The same beads from the activity kit put another kid, this time a 1-year-old, in the hospital. The parents of Kennedy Mitchell said that their daughter also ingested a water bead, which expanded enough inside her body to create a blockage in her intestine.

According to the National Capital Poison Center, the beads themselves are non-toxic, but the amount of moisture one bead can absorb poses a big risk in and of itself. Children especially can be fooled by its colorful appearance, and a large number of incidents of accidental ingestion suggest that these kids mistakenly thought the toy to be candy. Once inside the body, a single bead will constantly absorb all the moisture it comes across, and can expand by 150 times its original size.

Orbeez and similar water beads were previously touted as sensory toys that quickly became popular, especially after several online influencers started using them to create viral stunts. A French Youtuber, Cyril Schreiner, completely blocked his pipes after filming a  stunt involving a large amount of water beads.

Orbeez is also facing a federal class action suit in California over its hazardous nature.

Copyright 2023,