The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning to consumers to stop participating in a new activity called water walking. Water walking is the newest craze among children and teens, is popular at malls, carnivals, amusement parks, resorts and even at children’s birthday parties. Water walking involves a large, transparent plastic ball, sometimes called a hamster ball, that is large enough to hold one person. An individual climbs into the ball as it is inflated with a blower through a zipper opening. Then the zipper is closed, making the ball essentially air-tight. The ball, with the individual locked inside, can then roll around on various surfaces, including grass, ice, water and pavement.
While water walking may sound like a fun-filled activity, several non-fatal, but serious injuries have been reported in the relatively short period of time this product has been available. In one instance, a child was inside a ball for only a few minutes before becoming unresponsive, and emergency medical treatment was sought. Because the ball is airtight, the air supply inside the ball may be inadequate as the oxygen becomes depleted and carbon monoxide increases. In another case, a person fell from from an above-ground pool, while inside a ball, onto a hard surface and suffered a broken bone. The risks to water walking “riders” include suffocation, as there is no emergency exit available from inside the ball, and a potential for drowning if there is a leak or puncture when the ball is used in open water. Brain injuries, skull fractures, spinal cord injuries and even death can occur if the head comes in contact with a hard surface. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, involving lung, heart or breathing issues may experience an exacerbation of their symptoms while locked inside a water walking ball.
The CPSC has informed state amusement ride officials about the potential dangers associated with this product. While some states have already banned water walking balls, others have allowed water walking balls to be marketed and sold to amusement parks and to private individuals as well.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury water ball-related, contact the experienced injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Henry Hanflik. Call us at 888-905-4632. We can help you!