The ACCC recently published an article warning of the dangers of water expanding balls, or “water beads” for children. These balls are very small, but expand to up to 400 times their original size when in contact with liquid. They are most commonly used as decorative items, but it has been recently discovered the products are also being marketed as sensory toys for children.
As a result, small children have been hospitalised for ingesting these balls which can lead to intestinal obstruction, vomiting, dehydration and discomfort. The ACCC has urged any businesses that are supplying the “water beads” as toys to cease selling the products.
This recent case highlights the important issue of product safety. Businesses may be liable under consumer protection laws if they do not carefully source their products. The products themselves need to be safe and must have appropriate packaging and labelling. It is also essential to be aware of your audience and customer base to prevent injury or medical problems occurring from your product offerings. In particular, care needs be taken in marketing products to young children or infants, as small products or by-products can easily be swallowed.
It is also important to note that some products have mandatory standards in place to protect consumers from risks that come with particular goods and products, such as the beanbags we discussed in our article a few weeks ago. Contact us at Gladwin Legal for assistance or advice about your compliance with the standards at or call us 1300 033 934 for a no-obligation quote.