Do you have water beads in your home?
Water beads— they looked so cool on social media. Now I cringe every time I see someone show them on Instagram. I now hate them, and you should, too.
Earlier this year, I saw water beads on sale for $9, which saved $7 on them. I figured I’d get them now to save money and put them away to try later in the year when it got cold and we were stuck inside. Once I received them, I hid them in the closet behind a bunch of things so that my son wouldn’t be able to find them.
Then one day, I left my son in the room playing for a few minutes while I put groceries away. I came back into the room to find my son standing in the closet, water bead container open with his hand in it. I asked him if he had put any in his mouth, and he replied, “I ate one.” Being that he was 2, almost 3 years old, I had no idea if he was telling the truth or not. I immediately tossed one of the beads in water to see what it would do and how big it would get as time went on so we could predict what it was doing inside his stomach if he did, in fact, eat one. After some research online and seeing stories from the mild to the very extreme, we decided to wait it out and see what happened, as most instances said the child would have a fever and vomiting if there were issues from it. The next evening, my son started getting fussy and acting weird, and the next thing I knew, he was vomiting profusely all over me and had a fever, and the water bead in the glass had gone from the size of a pea to the size of a large cherry.
I quickly sprayed the vomit off us in the shower while my husband packed a bag, and we headed to the ER. Each doctor and nurse we encountered told us of their hatred of water beads. From pulling them out of children’s noses, ears, and intestines to older kids coming in with wounds from shooting frozen ones at each other, they had seen it all and wished they would cease to exist as a fad.
24 frightening, long, tear-filled hours in the hospital later, two x-rays, an ultrasound (and a cat scan to be absolutely sure) came back showing no blockage, and we thankfully were discharged. The doctors said they couldn’t be sure if he did eat one and threw it up or never ate one and just ended up with a 24-hour bug randomly at the same time, but either way, they suggested we get rid of the water beads, which I happily did as soon as we got home.
There are plenty of things you can fill sensory bins with; it’s not worth using something that could land your child in the hospital. And no matter how careful you are, kids always find a way to get to something they want. Don’t take the chance. Toss them in the trash.