[Source: Medical News Today]
Parents are being warned of the risks posed to children by water beads, which have been increasingly marketed as toys and learning aids for children with autism.
The water-absorbing beads made from superabsorbent polymer can swell to 400 times their original size when immersed, causing a foreign body risk that can obstruct the gastrointestinal tract.
In a short report published online by the Medical Journal of Australia, senior poisons specialist Dr Rose Cairns, of the NSW Poisons Information Centre at Westmead Children’s Hospital, and her colleagues identified a rapid increase in incidents in recent years involving the ingestion of water-absorbing beads.
The authors examined cases documented by the New South Wales Poisons Information Centre (NSWPIC) in children aged 0-14 years between January 2004 and June 2016. Since 2004, 129 incidents involving the beads have been reported to NSWPIC, 112 (87%) since 2013.