Plastic balls that people enter to walk on bodies of water can cause severe injuries and even death. In American spas and tourist areas, it has become fashionable as a form of entertainment to use air-filled plastic spheres where people go to walk on water.
But the US government has warned that people should not get into these huge balls to ‘walk in water’ because it is not safe, Time Healthland published. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) alerted the public to this activity, given the risk of suffocation and drowning.
After the person is introduced to the large plastic ball, the attendants inflate it with an air pump through an opening, which they then close, making it airtight. The person inside in human hamster ball can roll or walk on water and other surfaces, including ice and grass, like a mouse inside a sphere. The commission alerted people to the danger of these products before someone died, said Inez Tenenbaum, chair of the commission.
Among the concerns of the CPSC is the fact that oxygen can be depleted inside the ball, and dangerous levels of carbon dioxide (exhaled by humans) can be reached in a matter of minutes. People with medical conditions, such as heart or lung and breathing problems, may be at higher risk of harm, the commission reported.
Some of the problems with the design of the ball is that it does not have an emergency exit; the closure can only be opened from the outside, that is, people can be trapped inside the sphere, increasing the risk of injury or death.
If the ball punches or breaks, the team could drown. In addition, the ball does not contain protective pads, and whoever goes inside it can be injured when hitting a hard surface or a passenger in another sphere, Time Healthland said.
The commission received two reports of injuries caused by this activity where two young children were injured: last year, a 5-year-old girl fainted inside a ball for a short period (probably due to lack of oxygen), and a small boy was he fractured his arm when he fell, inside the ball, from an elevated pool to the ground.
The balls are manufactured by various companies and sold directly to consumers. The CPSC said it does not know “the safe way to use this product.”
Manufacturers say their products are safe if used correctly: One manufacturer’s website said the ball offers 30 minutes of oxygen for users, while rides last between 7 and 10 minutes.
Peter Raidt, owner of Eurobungy USA (a Miami-based company that distributes this ball), proposed as a solution that manufacturers install a handle inside the ball so that users could open the ball from the inside, published The Chicago Tribune. The commission has yet to issue his response.
The CPSC asked field trip officials to ban the use of these balls; in several states they have already prohibited or refused to offer permits for this type of entertainment.