They are small, round, of all colors and look like candy. But beware, the decorative water beads, or water beads, are a real danger for young children, worries on July 29 the National Agency for National Food Sanitary Security (Handles).

54 cases of ingestion in 2018

And if the agency alerts today on these decorative beads, it is because “cases of ingestion” are in “very clear increaseWhen poison control centers had two cases in 2010, this figure rose to 54 in 2018. Half of the cases involved children under the age of three.

To read also: Water pearls: attention, danger!

Swelling in the digestive tract

The main risk comes from their ability to swell when absorbing a large amount of water. Because if a young child ingests one of these balls before it has reached its maximum size, the ball can “continue to swell in the digestive tract and cause intestinal obstruction, sometimes fatal“, explains ANSES.

Contact a poison control center

A risk that should not be overlooked and which requires “keep these objects out of reach (of children)“insists the Agency which recalls:”if swallowed, even suspected, immediately call a poison control center who will give you medical advice and what to do“.

The list of poison control centers is available at

2,000 accidents per day

Domestic accidents, including suffocation and poisoning, are still the leading cause of death in young children in France today.

Every day, 2,000 children under the age of six are victims of an everyday accident in France.