North Prairie, Wisconsin— Esther Bethard is a beautiful girl with big blue eyes and red curly hair. She was supposed to celebrate her first birthday in August, but she died in July after ingesting water droplets from a children’s activity kit.
Now her mother is doing everything she can to keep her other children safe.
“Esther was the youngest of five children,” said mother Taylor Bethard of North Prairie, Wisconsin.
According to Esther’s mother, she loved watermelon and ice cream and everyone loved her.
“I miss watching her with all her brothers and sisters,” Bethard continued. “She woke up with a huge smile on her face and raised her arms waiting to be picked up.”
Esther died when she was only 10 months old. On the morning of July 7, her mother found her lifeless in her crib.
“I think it’s particularly horrific because it was a completely avoidable tragedy,” said attorney Dan Mann of the Philadelphia law firm Feldman Shepard.
Mann represents the Bethard family. When asked about the cause of Esther’s death, he answered without hesitation.
“There is no doubt that this was caused by swallowing a drop of water,” he said.
Mann said a drop of water was found in Esther’s intestines. He said the water droplets she swallowed came from Chuckle & Roar activity kits are only sold at Target.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, water beads are small, absorbent, often colored, highly absorbent polymer balls that increase in size to one hundred times their original size when exposed to water. times. If swallowed, it may cause suffocation, internal injuries or even death.
Our sister station WPVI-TV issued a warning to consumers about water droplets after speaking with the mother of 1-year-old Kennedy Mitchell in December.
Kennedy ended up in the hospital after swallowing beads from the same smiley bead & roar kit. The bead clogged Kennedy’s intestines.
Target did stop selling that particular kit at some point early this year, but Mann purchased the other kits three weeks ago.
“There are ten on Amazon,” he said.
“It’s not enough to just stop selling them,” Bessard said. “It didn’t warn families like ours who had purchased them before.”
The Chuckle and Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kit was recalled last week after Bethard reported Esther’s death to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“I don’t think one recall is enough. It’s not enough,” Bethard said. “It’s not enough to issue a recall, dry your hands and hope for the best.”
WPVI-TV troubleshooter Nydia Han spoke with the CPSC about taking further action and recalling all water bead kits.
“I think during the rulemaking process we will re-evaluate the entire product category to see what appropriate rules should apply,” said Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric.
Now, Esther’s mum is pleading with her family to listen and learn from her family’s tragedy.
“They were not purchased for Esther. Esther never played with them,” she said. “And yet this happens. Because they bounce, they roll, they hide. They’re tiny.”
Even after expanding, they shrink back to their original tiny size.
“They can hide in carpet fibers, in floor cracks, in baseboards,” she said.
Bethard said that while it was difficult to relive her daughter’s death and mourn it publicly, she did find some comfort.
“Knowing that we can make a difference, that we can be a voice for Esther,” she said. “It’s not enough to just like hear it and accept it and make changes in your own home. We have to let other people know.”
“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. This shouldn’t happen to anyone else,” she added.
If you have water droplets, it is recommended that you clean it with a vacuum cleaner to make sure there are not any water droplets that children or pets can swallow.
Buffalo Games, makers of Chuckle & Roar kit, offered its “deepest condolences” to Esther’s family via ABC News.
The company also said the product was tested by an independent laboratory approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and does meet children’s product safety standards.
Target said it is contacting customers directly who purchased the recalled products.
Buffalo Athletics released statement to ABC News
The Buffalo Athletic Association offers its “deepest condolences” to the family of the late 10-month-old baby.
Before selling the Chuckle and Roar Ultimate Water Beads Kit, as we do with every product, Buffalo Games follows CPSC regulations and has the products tested to Children’s Product Safety Standards by an independent CPSC-approved laboratory. The product has passed tests required by standards, including ASTM standards for intumescent materials. This product is suitable for children aged 4 and over and carries a choking hazard warning on the packaging.
Buffalo Games takes customer safety very seriously and consumers should return Ultimate Water Beads to us for a full refund by contacting us via email, phone, or through the chucklelandroar.com website.
Complete statement of goals
We extend our deepest sympathies to the families affected by these tragic events. We no longer sell this product and will remove it from stores and online in November 2022. Customers who purchased this product should return it immediately and contact Target for a full refund.
Our standard recall process has been initiated and customers who purchased this product are being contacted.
We will notify guests via phone and email. The notifications began last week when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) again announced a recall following its standard recall process.