Feds: ‘Walking On Water’ Balls Could Kill You

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A federal watchdog group says you could drown if you try to walk on water — even if it’s inside a novelty flotation device.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is issuing a strong warning to stay away from Water Walking Balls, the large inflatable plastic bubbles that children and even adults can get inside and use to walk on water.

“These are very popular with children, and that’s particularly concerning because a child can get zipped inside of this, have some air pumped in, run in the ball, run out of oxygen and can suffocate,” said CPSC’s Patty Davis.

“Also, if you run into something and the ball punctures, you can drown because the water will seep in…you cannot get out,” added Davis.

Bruce Spitzer, the owner of Euro-Bungee, the company which has sold over 200 of these large inflatable plastic balls in the U.S., says the government warning is a “huge overreaction”.

“Most of these are being used by ride operators who are responsible, and the ride operators know how to use them safely and know how to keep them safe,” said Spitzer.

The entertainment devices are mostly found in amusement parks and water attractions, but some are also available on the private market.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • Marco

    Why don’t they jus tell us to stay in our homes, don’t breathe the air and don’t eat the food !!

    How many water ball deaths have there been in comparison to teen on teen deaths?

    Let’s focus on that prevention. That danger. Those numbers.

    For Christ Sakes !!!

  • WhatComesAround...

    Marco- that’s a little overblown I think. You have to look at the physics of the product and realize that it’s not a smart design. Oxygen would deplete quickly as cO2 levels rise and if the bubble were compromised it would not be an easy escape.

  • Marcus

    Forewarned is forearmed. When used on an amusement “ride”, with a limited timeframe, shallow water, and direct supervision, these are safe. But, it’s only a matter of time before people use them at home or out at the lake. This warning just makes parents think about the risks.

    The inability to extricate yourself is a major design flaw, at any rate.

  • realist

    there is no risk ive been in one and the zipper in the one i was in was 2 sidded meaning i could UNZIP THE THING and get out as for puncture risk NOT LIKELY the skin of the one i was in was very thick

    • WhatComesAround...

      realist – but would a child be able to think and react as quickly? And rather you want to admit it or not oxygen depletion is an issue (waterproof=airtight).

      • realist

        um has anyone ever heard of the small air tank that fits in your mouth and is not straped to your back it lasts a fair time?? so O2 RUNNING OUT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT AN ISSUE

      • rick

        and who said you would be in this thing for a long time?? i was in mine for 10 min the ball had MORE THEN ENOUGH air to last far past that its not like you would walk from los angeles to mexico in the damn thing you get in roll around for a bit and get out this is most times at an ammusement park so they are TIMED EVENTS and safety staff is around

  • TT

    they look cool – but i wouldnt put anybody in it, especially a child – zipper could malfunction- oxygen is a concern – NO way I would get into one of those…


    I have to say this is the stupidest thing I have ever seen

    I can see the commercial now—

    Hey kids tired of the same old swimming in a pool or ocean well impress your friends by climbing into this water ball that has no air holes so you can float on the water and have fun with your friends only $99.99 buy now and you will get 2 for $199.99 —Warning may cause dizziness and faintness and death cause there is no air holes if you do put in air holes water will seep in and you will drown If your in the ocean you may get swept away and dangering other boats and ships if you are using this in the summer this ball is made out of plastic and will get hot so hot that you may dehydrate pretty much if you buy this for your kids well you are not the smartest tool in the shed.

  • Mike

    Most of the time, I don’t agree with legislation or warnings that over-restrict us and impedes our freedoms. I’m usually the one who sarcastically says, ‘yes, why don’t you just force us to never leave our homes and never do anything!’, I’m also somewhat of a daredevil by nature, but in this case, as an experienced father of 4 children and an intelligent person, I can see the great danger that this device, however fun, that is inherent. I let my kids do most things, in spite of the risk of injury, but I would not allow them do play in a water ball. There are a half dozen ways I can imagine an emergency occurring, but I’ll only name two obvious ones; 1. The ball punctures for some reason (a pencil in the child’s pocket, a sharp rock in the water, previous ball damage, etc.) The ball would immediately fill up with water, and the air would rush out, trapping the child in the ball like a zip lock bag. Yes, some children would be lucky and get out, be rescued, etc., but some would not. I also believe that there are children who might puncture the ball on purpose to see what would happen. It is also reasonable to assume that some children and/or parents would panic, which could worsen the situation. 2. The child could run out of Oxygen, and if the parents or ride operators are distracted, the child could suffocate. I have personally experienced a situation like that and it is not far-fetched.

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