According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, consumers should stop participating in a new type of water-related recreational activity called water walking and the water walking ball due to the potential risk of suffocating and drowning.
Water walking is a new recreational activity where people enter and seal themselves in a large inflated plastic ball. Water walking balls are large clear plastic balls filled with air through a zipper opening. The zipper is then closed and the ball becomes air-tight, allowing a person to move the ball across water. The government safety group warns that there is a serious risk of suffocation and drowning as there is no emergency exit and the ball can only be opened from the outside. There is a serious risk of injury or death when a person inside experiences distress, said the CPSC.
According to one marketing website, a water walking ball contains enough air to last five minutes on a sunny, hot day. This activity is becoming popular enough for companies to include it in amusement parks, carnivals, malls and sporting events. The product is also available for sale for personal use.
Several states have issued bans on permits for rides that use water walking balls. The CPSC is aware two incidents involving water walking balls. In one incident, an unresponsive child was found inside a water walking ball after being inside the ball for a very brief period of time, requiring emergency medical treatment. In the second incident, a person inside a ball suffered a fracture when the ball fell out of the shallow, above ground-pool onto the hard ground.