While "water walking" is a relatively new recreational activity, it’s quickly gaining popularity – a trend that figures to continue as the weather turns warmer. Water walking balls are large inflatable plastic balls just big enough for a person to climb inside. The balls resemble a human sized hamster wheel in that they allow people to stay in constant motion and move along the surface of water without sinking.
The water walking balls, which are sold under several different brand names, are popular at water parks, but are beginning to see increased direct-to-consumer sales. Water walking is becoming more common at lakes and rivers.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says the product carries numerous risks. The agency is worried about too little oxygen in the balls as well as the buildup of carbon monoxide. It also warns that the balls lack an emergency exit and can only be opened by a person outside the ball – a serious issue if the person inside the ball experiences distress and there is no one around to recognize the problem. The CPSC says the balls also carry an increased risk of drowning if one becomes punctured and the person inside isn’t a strong swimmer. There are also concerns about people falling over the edge of elevated swimming pools. There has been one reported incident where a person suffered a fracture when their water walking ball fell out of the above-ground pool onto the ground.
CPSC has informed state amusement ride officials of the risks associated with the product and encourages state officials not to permit their use. CPSC does not know of any safe way to use this product.
Read the official CPSC warning here
Clike here to read our recent post on a new CPSC website that allows people to report unsafe products online.
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