CPSC: Walking Water Balls Aren’t Safe

They look like fun, but this is entertainment that starts with sealing you in an airtight ball – one you can’t get out of without outside help.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) doesn’t want you to walk on water.

Known as “walking water balls,” this relatively new recreational activity involves getting into a large, see-through plastic ball, which is then inflated with a blower through a zipper opening. Once inflated, the zipper is closed, making the ball airtight. Then the inhabitant can roll around on water, ice, or grass. They’re often found at amusement parks and carnivals, although they’re also sold direct to consumers.

At least one problem with these things should be obvious: They’re airtight, which means they could result in suffocation. And they can’t be opened from inside. From the CPSC’s press release:

The fact that the product has no emergency exit and can be opened only by a person outside of the ball significantly heightens the risk of injury or death when a person inside the ball experiences distress. Pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart, lung, or breathing issues, can be made worse by use of this product.

CPSC is aware of two incidents involving this product. In one incident, a child was found unresponsive after being inside the ball for a very brief period of time, and emergency medical treatment was sought. In the second incident, a person inside of a ball suffered a fracture when the ball fell out of the shallow, above-ground pool onto the hard ground.

Proof that while Uncle Sam is OK with you having fun, he often stops short of encouraging you to have a ball.

Stacy Johnson

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