Poison expert issues safety warning about these popular but hazardous toys
Parents are being urged to be aware of the dangers of gel-filled pearls that are becoming increasingly popular in some children's games.
Made from the superabsorbent polymer - the balls can swell up to 400 times their original size when immersed in water.
They start off as small pellets but expand rapidly which can pose a serious obstruction risk in young children if swallowed.
Such blockages in the body can lead to problems like vomiting, abdominal pain and constipation.
The balls are usually found in children's toys as dragon eggs, jelly beads, in children's foot spas and other craft activities.
They are also sometimes used as sensory learning aids for autistic children.
The most dangerous age for these is around the age of two when children are more mobile, exposed to such games and curious about the texture.
Poison expert, Dr Rose Carins who examined the dangers said it was an emerging foreign body risk and urged companies not to market them as children's toys.