I know this doesnt belong here but wanted to let all my mothering mommies read this. This women in the story lives sown the street from me and is the dear friend of a good friend of mine. http://www.tribune-chronicle.com/new...new06toy03.asp
please pass it on to other moms
GUSTAVUS - What haunts Mary Beth Millard is that when she heard one of the twins with their new water yo-yos yelp, she automatically yelled out the kitchen door, ''Knock it off!''
''Twin boys are always fighting,'' Millard said Tuesday, recounting the heart-pounding events of July 24. ''I don't even know why I came out on the porch. God had to be watching over that boy. If I hadn't gone out when I did, he wouldn't have lived. We would have buried him today.''
What she saw was the elastic string coiled around Joe's neck seven times. Dangling at his throat was the smiley face of the squishy water ball, a nightmarish contrast to the wide-eyed panic on the 4-year-old's bright red face.
By the time Millard scrambled off the porch of the century farmhouse, Joe dropped to his hands and knees. In the couple seconds it took to race across the lawn, the wispy blond fell onto his side and was turning blue.
''It was hard to get off,'' Millard said. ''It was wrapped around his neck and looped. I had to figure out which way it was wrapped. He kept dropping his head.
''When I got it off, he screamed. Then he put his head on my shoulder. He looked up and saw me bawling, and he said, 'Mom, don't cry. I didn't die.'''
Joe had been swinging the popular toy - which Millard had given to him and brother John five minutes earlier - over his head like a helicopter rotor, delighting as the water-filled ball whipped out 5 to 6 feet at the end of rubbery band. When the boy let the whirling drop a little bit, the yo-yo snapped around Joe's neck like a tether ball on a string.
An emergency room doctor who checked him over later said it was the exertion expended moaning a cry for help that broke the blood vessels around his eyes. The dots that popped out on his head indicated that hemorrhaging had started and that a minute longer would have caused brain damage or death.
The point is, Millard said, he could have died, and all because of one of the latest rages in toys that already are banned in Britain and Australia and under attack in several states.
The New York State Consumer Protection Board, the Massachusetts Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation board and Health Canada all issued warnings or called for bans. The boards cited strangulation hazards and that the toys are made from highly flammable diesel hydrocarbons.
Ken Giles, spokesman for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in Maryland, said Thursday that water ball yo-yos are under ''very active investigation.''
''I really don't know when the investigation will be finished, and I don't know what it will lead to,'' Giles said.
He said consumer complaints to the commission hot line started the investigation several months ago, and the commission needs more information from anyone else willing to file reports.
That Ohio attorney general's Consumer Protection Department has not issued a warning, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Fred Kort, chairman and president of Imperial Toy Corp., one of the many makers of the toy, issued a statement in June that the water yo-yo is no more a threat than any other toy with a string or cord, including jump ropes and traditional yo-yos.
''If a toy is misused, then the claim should not be put on the toy itself, but (on) lack of supervision and misuse. If the toy is used as instructed, the toy is safe,'' Kort said in his statement defending his Yo Yo Water Ball brand.
He also refuted claims by advocacy groups that the water inside the balls is toxic.
Leisure Times Products Inc. of Fort Collins, Colo., - distributor of the water balls Millard bought at a gas station in Kinsman - declined an opportunity to comment. A spokeswoman said Wednesday afternoon that she would find out who could address concerns, but the company chose not to comment.
Some manufacturers even tout the water yo-yos as being safer than traditional yo-yos because they are soft and squishy.
Millard's mind is made up on safety. She believes the toys should be banned.
''I just want the public to know these things are very dangerous,'' she said. ''I don't want to see another mom go through this.''
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