Senator Jim Alesi (R,C-Perinton) and Assemblywoman Ginny Fields (D,WFP-Sayville) are sponsoring bills in the NYS Senate and Assembly regarding the dangers that yo-yo waterballs pose to children. Their legislation (S.5960/A.9048) prohibits the sale, importation, manufacturing, or distribution of yo-yo waterballs in New York State.
Yo-yo waterballs consist of a liquid-filled ball on an elastic cord with a small finger loop at the end that allows children to throw the ball, stretch the cord and bounce it back like a yo-yo. Since its emergence in 2003, consumer safety agencies around the world have received numerous complaints from parents reporting various injuries involving the toy, including strangulation, laceration and eye injuries.
"When the line between entertainment and safety is crossed, it is my job as a legislator to step in and safeguard our children from this dangerous toy," said Senator Alesi. "Several reports have shown the danger associated with yo-yo waterballs and now is the time for legislative action."
The New York State Consumer Protection Board has issued two warnings calling yo-yo waterballs a serious hazard to children. The second warning was issued after a five-year-old girl from the Rochester suburb of Pittsford was nearly strangled by the toy's long elastic cord. Similar to other choking incidents involving yo-yo waterballs, the elastic cord became wrapped around the child's neck after she had been twirling it above her head. The cord was wrapped so tightly that her father, Dr. Marc Lande, a pediatrician from Rochester, had to use a pair of scissors to cut the cord.
"As a pediatrician and a father, I wholeheartedly support the position to ban yo-yo waterballs in New York State," affirmed Dr. Lande. "I urge the legislature to act on this legislation and protect our children from these clearly dangerous toys."
According to injury reports collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), since December of 2002, yo-yo waterballs were responsible for 400 reported health incidents, 290 of which were classified as causing suffocation or strangulation. Furthermore, a safety investigation conducted by the U.S. CPSC found that yo-yo waterballs pose a potential risk of strangulation.
Yo-yo waterballs are banned in France, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Australia, Brazil, and Canada. The toys have been banned in Illinois, and Massachusetts and New Jersey have issued warnings concerning the threat posed to children by yo-yo waterballs. Consumer Reports rated yo-yo waterballs as "not acceptable" in the December 2003 issue, stating that the toy poses significant safety concerns. Lastly, in their annual survey of toy safety entitled, "Trouble in Toyland" (November 2005), the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups recommended yo-yo waterballs be banned in the United States. A complete version of this report can be found at: www.toysafety.net.