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Government to launch Yo-Yo Ball investigation

Federal agency takes action following MSNBC news report

Nov 9, 2006 | MSNBC

A federal agency will take another look at Yo-Yo Water Balls, a popular toy blamed for injuring more than 400 children across the country, after a detailed report on the hazards of the toy in this week’s ConsumerMan column.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has decided to launch a “formal, in-depth investigation” into the case of a 5-year-old Bellevue, Wash., boy that was detailed in the column, a spokesman for the agency said.

“We have taken your report, your news report, very seriously,” CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson told me. “And we want to get on this case as quickly as possible.”

The colorful, fluid-filled balls, which have been on the market for at least several years, are attached to an elasticized cord that easily can get wrapped around the neck of children playing with the toy.

“We are willing to explore all issues with Yo-Yo Water Balls,” Wolfson said. “We need to look at this case, look at the way this child was hurt and the way this Yo-Yo Ball is performing.”

For three years now, Lisa Lipin, a mother in Skokie, Ill., has been leading the effort to get Yo-Yo Balls banned. In 2003, her 5-year-old son Andrew was injured when he had a Yo-Yo Ball cord wrap around his neck. CPSC investigated and refused to recall the toy, saying the risk of strangulation was not great enough.

“I commend the Commission for taking the initiative to look into it again,” Lipin said. “I think it’s long overdue.”

The latest incident involved Brayden Daher of Bellevue, Wash., who also was nearly strangled playing with the toy.

A CPSC investigator now is scheduled to meet with his parents, Carolyn and Ghassan Daher,  Monday, the agency spokesman said. Carolyn  Daher told me she is “very happy” the CPSC is “taking this seriously.”

“I hope that they do their job,” she said, “and find out that this is a very dangerous toy; that children can actually die from this product.” Both Carolyn and Ghassan will tell the CPSC in no uncertain terms that they think Yo-Yo Balls should be banned.

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