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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  • I want one!

  • AguaSpheres have operated water walking balls in Spain for 3 years. In that time we have had over 20,000 children use this activity – the only injury being a girl who grazed her toe as she caught it with the toenail from her other foot.

    With far more serious injuries occurring in the day to day sporting activities that children partake in – should the government also consider banning american football, soccer, rugby etc?

    Also, government experts should know that humans actually breathe out 4 times more oxygen than carbon dioxide. Intake fresh air is approx 21% oxygen and 0.05% CO2. Exhaled air is approx 16% oxygen and 4% CO2, so oxygen depletion is not as rapid as suggested.

    However, especially where children are concerned, water walking balls should only be used for short periods and under expert trained supervision to ensure the welfare of participants. I have seen many video examples from USA where the supervision is lax to say the least. Stupidity bans such an activity, sensibility ensures correct use of the equipment.

    The idea of the ability to open the sphere from the inside places more risk upon the participant, especially if a child was to open the zip while on top of the water. This akin to allowing someone to tie the rope around their own ankles for a bungee jump!

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