Thursday, November 8, 2007

Aqua Dots: Moon Sand and Floam Saved us from Potential Danger

Note: I checked and noted that Floam is made in the USA and that the sand in Moon Sand is made in Sweden while the assembly, etc. is done in China. Neither Floam or Moon Sand has been recalled.

I feel really blessed that I decided a long time ago not to buy Aqua Dots, the latest toy made in China to be recalled because of toxicity concerns. The name Aqua Dots could represent harmlessness for parents with access to safe drinking water supplies. Aqua means water after all.

Aqua Dots are beads used in arts and crafts products. The beads fuse together when squirted with water. They come in many colors which makes them attractive to children. The toy has been getting good reviews up until now (11-08-07).

Aqua Dots may still be attractive to children. However, they are quickly becoming unattractive to adults concerned about child safety. The big news story is that Aqua Dots is extremely toxic when ingested. According to various news reports on the web, scientists have discovered the toy contains a chemical that converts into a powerful date rape drug (gamma hydroxyl buryrate) during the digestion process. Reactions to this drug include vomiting, unconsciousness, coma and death.

Two children in the U.S. and a few others in Australia fell into unresponsive comas after swallowing Aqua dots or Bindeez, as they are called in Australia. The range of the children’s ages (from two to ten) suggests that the temptation to swallow is great for all ages.

I have two children who occasionally put toys in their mouths. My youngest is four and loves candy—which Aqua Dots seems to resemble. My nine-year-old with autism would know the dots are not candy. However, sometimes he copies his younger brother while playing (which is a blessing most of the time). My nine-year-old also tends to chew on his clothes and occasionally mouths inedible objects.

Why did I make the decision not to buy Aqua Dots? It wasn’t because I was concerned about the possibility of my boys swallowing the beads. It was because when I first saw the commercial for Aqua Dots, the product reminded me of Moon Sand and Floam, two relatively new products marketed towards kids that I found to be disappointing at best.

“It doesn’t work,” said my nine-year-old neighbor boy when referring to Floam this summer. My two boys and I also had similar failing results with the product. Some of it ended up embedded in our carpeting. It’s very difficult to shape Floam into art projects when the stuff sticks to one’s fingers and everything else.

We fared a little better with Moon Sand, but it didn’t shape into the molds as it seemed to on the commercials designed to sell the product. We found Moon Sand to be too crumbly. I figured Aqua Dots would be a failure in our house even though it was getting good reviews. Why spend money on a toy which will end up sucked up in my vacuum cleaner or wiped away during clean-up?

I had been a sucker for the prior two products because I like to provide my sons with toys that provide both sensory integration and a chance to develop fine motor skills and creativity. I could have provided the same type of opportunities by buying Aqua Dots, but did not for reasons I already explained. Thank goodness Floam and Moon Sand were flops in our home.

Update: I am going to pass on this one, but I found a recipe for those of you who may still want Moon Sand without the cost and worries of any possible toxicity.

2 comments:

devildogwife said...

I know this is an old post, but I thought you would like to know... Floam had a really bad batch of floam go out to many stores nationwide. The product was extremely sticky. I called the company and they knew the problem. They sent us out replacement product for free, and it's wonderful. Just an FYI. :)

Anonymous said...

Has anyone had skin problems after playing with moon sand? We spent 5 hours in ER after my son put it on his face, Please email if anyone has a comment. My son has never had allergies or a rash on his face until now. Now I read something about a dog dying. I am very concerned. Thank you- Christin thomasandchristin@yahoo.com