Doctors fear dangerous toy is still for saleGirl hospitalised after swallowing toxic beads

18 January 2008

Children playing with toys

Toy libraries let you try before you buy

A toxic toy recalled last November is still on sale in the UK, according to a report in the British Medical Journal.

The oversight came to light after a seven-year-old girl almost died after swallowing Bindeez toy beads given to her as a Christmas present.

The beads, made in China, were internationally recalled, in November last year, after it was discovered they were coated with a dangerous chemical.

Doctors at University Hospital Lewisham, in London, used heart massage to revive the girl after she arrived with a dangerously slow heart rate.

Heart massage

She later told doctors that she had eaten about 80 beads thinking they were sweets and said they tasted of marzipan.

It’s believed the girl’s parents bought the beads at a major store in the Greenwich area two or three weeks after the recall.

Medical staff reported the incident, which took at the beginning of January, to Greenwich trading standards officers, and the UK distributor, Character Options Ltd, based in Oldham, Greater Manchester. They also discovered that Bindeez beads were still for sale online.

Bindeez are used by children to make shapes or jewellery designs which stick together when sprayed with water.

'Incredibly dangerous' 

Reports estimated that half a million Bindeez kits were recalled after children in Australia and USA were hospitalised after swallowing some beads.

The beads are coated in a chemical that when digested becomes a potent sedative and anaesthetic.

Dr Jane Runnacles, paediatric specialist registrar at Lewisham, told Which?: ‘It appears that some retailers weren’t aware of this recall. Parents might have these toys at home and need to know they are incredibly dangerous.’

She said the child seemed better now, but the hospital is monitoring her condition to see if there were any long-term effects due to a possible loss of oxygen to the brain.

Sedative

Character Options disputes any Bindeez were still on sale at the time of the incident.

‘Whilst Bindeez may still be listed on websites and in catalogues, Character is not aware that the product is available to buy anywhere within the UK,’ said chairman Richard King.