Ruth Uncovers Dangerous Toy Yo-Yo. Safety Experts Worry About Flammability, Choking Risks
POSTED: 10:44 a.m. EDT July 16, 2003
UPDATED: 6:11 p.m. EDT July 16, 2003
A water yo-yo ball may be one of summer's hottest toys, but it also could be one that may be too hot to handle.
Ruth To The Rescue Uncovers Dangerous Toy
The toy costs about $1, but some safety experts believe the small yo-yo can cause big problems, said Local 4's Ruth Spencer.
The toy is made in China and Taiwan and sold in various local toy, discount and dollar stores.
The water yo-yo ball may be a hit on the playground, but safety experts said it is behind several life-threatening close calls, Local 4 reported.
In New York, at least five children were seriously hurt. In one case, a doctor needed scissors to cut the stretch cord off his daughter's neck, the station reported.
In another case, a 6-year-old boy suffered heart trouble after drinking some of the liquid inside the ball.
Faye Molitor, the mother of two young children, said it is disturbing that a toy at such a low cost can be that potentially dangerous for children.
Local 4 took the water yo-yo ball to Deborah Niedbala, a child safety educator at Children's Hospital. She detected a major problem from the start.
Niedbala said the toy smelled like diesel fuel. Ruth to the Rescue discovered that's because the squishy yo-yos are made of diesel hydrocarbons, an extremely flammable compound.
"There's no guarantee that if you're using this around a campfire, barbecue, or mosquito candles that it wouldn't go up just as it is," Niedbala said.
Local 4 contacted the Detroit fire department's training academy to see just how flammable the water yo-yo ball really is.
The ball burned fast, but the rubbery string stayed intact. About a minute later, the water began to bubble out, but that did nothing to stop the flames.
The toy burned for a full five minutes before firefighters extinguished the burning toy.
Amazingly, Ruth to the Rescue checked the toy's packaging and notices it never mentions the risk.
"If it's made of something that is anything flammable or highly flammable, there should be something on there...a disclaimer or something," said Orlando Gregory of the Detroit Fire Department training academy.
Niedbala agreed the toy's label is lacking.
"The warnings are not large enough, they're not bright enough, people are not going to see them. No where on the packaging does it say it's a flammable hazard, that there's something poisonous on the inside if it gets broken, or that it's a strangulation problem," Niedbala said.
Spencer confronted the Consumer Product Safety Commission to find out why the water yo-yo ball is still being sold in local stores.
Consumer officials in New York and Massachusetts are leading the push for a national recall. The yo-yo's are also under investigation in California, Colorado, and Indiana, as well as Canada.
Canadian health officials issued a voluntary recall after several recent close calls.
Local 4 contacted the Consumer Product Safety Commission and their spokesman told the station the agency is investigating the water yo-yo ball primarily as a strangulation hazard.
After Ruth to the Rescue shared the results of Local 4's investigation, the CPSC said they will also be looking into the flammability risk.
New York State Hazard Warning
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07-18-2003, 04:14 PM #1
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Cautionary Message For "new Summer" ToysIf you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)
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07-18-2003, 04:22 PM #2
Re: Cautionary Message For "new Summer" ToysOriginally posted by MalahatTwo7
"No where on the packaging does it say it's a flammable hazard, that there's something poisonous on the inside if it gets broken, or that it's a strangulation problem," Niedbala said.
The fact that it is a YO-YO with a three foot string didn't give that one away??!!
It sounds like this is a pretty bad product all around, but having to add that last one to the warning label just erodes what little faith I have left in human intelligence.Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!
07-18-2003, 11:53 PM #3that's because the squishy yo-yos are made of diesel hydrocarbons, an extremely flammable compound.Safety Experts Worry About Flammability,
Somewhere, somebody had to say; "you think this is a bad idea?"My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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07-20-2003, 04:25 PM #4
Actually, many "plastics" are made from petroleum products, and that is why they burn as easily and colorfully as they do when heated, and burn even more when completely melted.
This one must have been a particularly rudimentary refinement process to still retain the odour though.Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!
07-20-2003, 05:07 PM #5
These "toys" have already been banned from sale in the United Kingdom by Trading Standards Depts, after a 7 year old child WAS almost strangled by the one she was playing with. She was twirling it around her head when she dropped her arm and the entire rubber string wrapped around her neck. Only the fact that her mother was nearby and managed to cut it off with scissors prevented her death.
They should not be on sale AT ALL.United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.
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