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12th Jul 2023

Warning over reusable water balloons after one mum’s terrifying magnet incident

A terrifying incident and a trip to a children’s hospital made this mother warn others about the product.

A viral post circulating on social media this week from Kelley Whitty, a mother living in Ohio in the US, has been shared thousands of times as concerned parents try to spread the word about the potential dangers associated with reusable water balloons.

The products contain tiny magnets, making them resealable for multiple uses, but it was those magnets that caused the terrifying incident for Whitty and her eight-year-old daughter Leah.

Whitty wrote on Facebook:

“Today, I get a phone call from Jenn that while swimming, something flew in Leah’s nose and it would not come out. Initially, I chuckled [because] she’s 8, what could possibly get in her nose that she can’t get out. Leah got out of the pool, wiped her face with a towel and immediately started screaming.

“I could hear Leah crying and freaking out that it burned and stung and I could hear the fear in Jenn’s voice that something was really wrong, so immediately made the choice to meet them and get her to Children’s. The worried mother took her daughter to a local hospital, where she says it wasn’t immediately clear what was causing the girl so much pain.”

They triaged us and every nurse and PCA we encountered was completely baffled as to what was up her nose. The doctors came in and again, completely mind-blown. Leah was freaking out so bad and screaming in pain so they had to sedate her. Once sedated they removed not 1, not 2 but 6 MAGNETS that had bonded to her septum.

The force of these tiny magnets was so strong it perforated her septum just in the time it happened to the time they were successfully removed. These magnets fell out of a reusable water balloon and must have been on the towel, unbeknownst to her, when she wiped her face and immediately went into her nose.”

Whitty goes on to warn parents that the products, which are made for children, don’t have a warning about the small components, and says that she was relieved the situation with her daughter was resolved.

“We are super thankful this wasn’t worse than it could’ve been but these are marketed to young kids, with no warning at all, and clearly could result in severe injury especially if ingested. The research team at Children’s actually came down to the ER and met with us so they could put out a publication warning parents of the blind danger these toys can have.

“We’re all still trying to wrap our heads around it. We’re home now and she’s feeling good. (Video at the end if you want a chuckle) Lastly, we have a follow-up with ENT to make sure there is no permanent damage to her septum. If you have these in your house, THROW THEM AWAY.”