Playtime for 5-year old Kennedy Erickson involves miniature horses today, but three weeks ago a $2 toy, the Yo Yo Water Ball, almost cost her her life.
Her dad, Bill Erickson, says, "I walked into the room, and she had it around her neck and was just frantic. I reached in and grabbed it and broke it off her neck. Once it wrapped around four or five times you couldn't unwrap it, so I had to get in there and break it off."
"It actually looked like there were strangulation marks, indentations, and actually lacerations on her neck," tells Kari Anderson, Kennedy's mom.
That family is not alone, more than 400 similar injuries have been reported, but after an investigation by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, they decided the risk this toy presents does not meet criteria for a recall.
Jennifer Giegerich is the State Director of Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group. She says, "there is no reason not to recall this toy, and the fact that it can be found on the toy store shelves, parents naturally assume that that is a safe toy."
Some of the safety concerns come from reports that show the small circle meant to fit a finger has in the past stretched snuggly around a child's neck. Also an investigation shows the toy can quickly catch fire, but the most common complaint is children swinging it around their head like a lasso. That's what Kennedy did and with in moments the elastic rope cut off her air supply.
Her mom says, "we are very lucky. I am so grateful that my husband was right there, but you feel that if you are able to purchase this toy your children are going to be safe."
A 5-year old in Illinois was nearly strangled by a yo yo ball, and now a bill banning the toy just needs the Governor's approval. Here in Wisconsin, Consumer Protection wants people with complaints about this toy to let them know. Call Consumer Protection at 1-800-422-7128.