Yo-Yo Waterball, Bearing Risk Of Strangulation, Target of Legislation in New York; Childrens Product Safety and Recall Effectiveness Act of 2008 Also Signed Into Law

New York Governor David A. Paterson signed into law a bill prohibiting the importation, manufacturing, distribution, or sale of dangerous yo-yo waterball toys, and providing for enforcement by the attorney general. The New York State Consumer Protection Board has issued two warnings calling yo-yo waterballs a serious hazard to children. The second warning was issued after a five-year-old girl from the Rochester area was nearly strangled by the toy’s long elastic cord.

Similar to other choking incidents involving yo-yo waterballs, the elastic cord became wrapped around the child`s neck after she had been twirling it above her head. The cord was wrapped so tightly that her father had to use a pair of scissors to cut the cord. The victim’s mother said that her husband found their daughter “blue in the face.”

Governor Patterson also signed the Children’s Product Safety and Recall Effectiveness Act of 2008. This important piece of legislation will prevent recalled and defective toys and juvenile products from sitting on store shelves and will keep potentially dangerous products out of children’s hands. The new law also provides important information to consumers about recalls and safety warnings.

According to injury reports collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as of April 30, 2005, yo-yo waterballs were responsible for 397 reported health incidents, 280 of which were classified as causing suffocation or strangulation. Sixteen of those children lost consciousness. in some cases where the cord wrapped around a child’s neck there were reported broken blood vessels affecting eyes, eyelids, cheeks, neck, scalp or the area behind the ears.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says there is a low but potential risk of strangulation from the Yo-Yo Waterball toy and warn that parents need to exercise caution when children play with this toy. But the CPSC did not recommend that the toy be banned.

Yo-yo waterballs are banned in France, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Australia, Brazil, and Canada. The toys have been banned in Illinois, and Massachusetts and New Jersey have issued warnings concerning the threat posed to children by yo-yo waterballs.

Consumer Reports rated yo-yo waterballs as “not acceptable” in the December 2003 issue, stating that the toy poses significant safety concerns. Approximately 15 million of these toys have been distributed in the United States, selling for between $1 and $5. The yo-yo water ball also sold under such names as the water yo-yo, yo-yo squeeze toy, yo-yo sports ball, yo-yo ball, flashing yo-yo ball, light-up yo-yo ball, yo-yo meteoric water ball, etc. emerged in 2003 as the latest toy fad.

The toy is a liquid filled ball on a stretchy bungee cord string with a finger loop at the end, allowing a child to swing the toy around, stretching the string and bouncing it back like a yo-yo. The ball can be bounced, squeezed, squished and twirled like a lasso.

Consumer safety agencies around the world have fielded complaints from parents, reporting incidents in which water yo-yos wrapped tightly around their children’s necks or caused other injuries to the eyes, face and head. The CPSC has received more than 186 reports of incidents in which the yo-yo ball toys cord wrapped around a child’s neck (vi).

The cord is made of a rubbery plastic, which extends four feet and makes the yo-yo ball difficult to control, because the water ball at the end of the toy is heavy enough to generate significant momentum when swung.

The Commission has received 186 reports of incidents in which the yo-yo ball toy’s cord wrapped around a child’s neck. In all cases, a parent or child successfully removed the cord from the child’s neck. Although there were no lasting injuries, seven cases reported broken blood vessels affecting eyes, eyelids, cheeks, neck, scalp or the area behind the ears. CPSC staff realizes that the reported incidents are uncomfortable.

The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims including those involving dangerous and defective products. For 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas.

If you or someone close to you has been injured by a product that was not properly manufactured, designed or labeled, contact the personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help. To learn more, watch our videos.

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