If you're worried about whether or not a toy could be potentially hazardous to a child, it might be a good idea to hear what a catastrophic death/injury lawyer like the popular legal representative who advertises his services on TikTok, Tommy the Lawyer (@tommythelawyer).
And because the holiday season was approaching, Tommy thought it would be prudent to share some gifts he would steer clear of, presumably because of the number of cases he's seen or researched that have involved death or serious bodily injury involving these toys/gifts geared towards children.
In a viral TikTok that's accrued over 4.7 million views on the popular social media platform, Tommy looks into the camera and says: "As a catastrophic injury and death lawyer who deals with some of the worst stuff on a daily basis and I know people are out there doing Holiday shopping. There are the three kids' toys that I would absolutely never use or buy under any circumstance."
He then rattled off the first toy he thinks folks should watch out for: "Number one would be water beads and a common brand name for these is Orbeez. They're these really, really tiny plastic beads and the problem with them is that they expand exponentially when they're put in water, and they're supposed to be used for kids to get tactile strength and learn texture and colors and stuff."
There is a downside the toys, according to the lawyer, however: "But, there have been reports that multiple kids, even just swallowing or ingesting one of these has caused intestinal obstructions, blockages and resulted in multiple deaths of children."
Next up wasn't a specific toy brand or type, so to speak, but rather a feature/attribute several types of toys have: basically anyone with one of those "button" style batteries.
"Number two would be any toy with button batteries. If you've ever seen those little tiny batteries that are about this big and they're round and circular, and they're in lots of different toys, those things are crazy dangerous because what happens is if a child swallows them by accident, they got lodged in their esophagus or in their windpipe..."
He adds that these batteries aren't just a choking hazard, but a dangerous chemical one as well that could result in severe injury to your child's internal organs if they were to accidentally swallow one of them.
Tommy continues, "And due to the chemical mixture within the batteries these button batteries specifically, they can erode the esophagus and burn basically, burn a hole through the child's airpipe or esophagus in a matter of seconds or minutes."
The third type of gift/toy he cautioned consumers against purchasing, "Any incline sleeper device. These are things that are often sold in stores and they're anything that's marketed that you're baby can sleep in, that's not at a completely flat angle, so anything at an incline," he demonstrates with his hand the types of slanted sleeping apparatuses he's referring to.
Tommy delineates why these types of beds are so dangerous: "And luckily there have been recalls of these in recent years but some of the companies have gotten creative and they don't market them as 'incline sleeper devices' anymore they call them a 'bouncer' or whatever else but the bottom line is babies should always be sleeping flat on their back like this [he lays his arm flat to drive the point home] and not at an incline."
It seemed like there were several other TikTokers who agreed with Tommy's assessment of some of the toys, like one individual who also thought that Orbeez simply had to go: "Orbeez NEED TO BE REMOVED FROM THE SHELVES!!"
Another person also professed their hatred for Orbeez: "Who thought orbeez was a good idea?!? It’s caused so much harm"
However, there were those who said that there was a time and a place for this little spheres of fun, and it's certainly not meant for the hands of toddlers.
"I used to play with orbeez all the time they are so relaxing and a fun sensory item. But I was at least 7 or 8 playing with them. Not for toddlers," they penned.
A healthcare professional also echoed Tommy's sentiments with Orbeez and the button batteries as well: "I work in digestive health, and I’ve had to come in the middle of the night for batteries and orbees. They need to be banned"
One needn't scour the web for too long in order to find instances of children becoming sick upon ingesting water beads, and when it comes to button batteries, Poison Control doesn't mince words with how severe a person's injuries can become: "Swallowed batteries burn through a child's esophagus in just 2 hours, leading to surgery, months with feeding and breathing tubes, and even death."
If you believe that you or someone you loved have swallowed something that is potentially hazardous to your health, either contact emergency services via 911 or a Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.