Is there anything more comfortable than lounging in front of the television in an oversized bean bag chair? The manufacturers of various bean bag chairs across the country have used this fact to help expand their business by creating bean bag chairs especially for children, toddlers, infants and even newborn babies. While these chairs are extremely comfortable, cosy and cute, there are also some extremely serious dangers to keep in mind.
The Hidden Dangers of Bean Bag Chairs
Bean bag chairs are filled with polystyrene foam balls which are very small and lightweight. They make for very comfy sitting but they also make for very dangerous complications if they are swallowed or inhaled. All bead bag filling products must contain the label “WARNING: Small lightweight beads present a severe danger to children if swallowed or inhaled.”
If a child does swallow or inhale one of these small balls, then they can choke or the lung can be blocked making it hard for them to breathe. There is also the risk of infection stemming from the blockage or the area where the foam ball is.
Another serious danger of bean bag chairs is the risk of falls. Many chairs are quite high and can easily topple down. Make sure you place your bean bag chair somewhere safe and away from other furniture, such as tables. Bean bag chairs also make excellent climbing apparatus that can result in a serious fall in a little child.
And, finally, bean bag chairs can also pose a threat of suffocation, especially in small babies. Always monitor your baby when using a bean bag chair to ensure the material does not fold over his or her face.
Recently there have been recalls for bean bag chairs across the country. 6,000 bean bag chairs made by Anywhere Lounger were recalled earlier this year with many more recalls expected to follow. Another thing to check is whether the bean bag chair has a zipper that is easy to open and close. If so, then your little one may be able to get into the bean bag when your back is turned.
What to Do if You Suspect Ingestion
If you do suspect that your child has swallowed or inhaled one of these bean bags, keep a very close eye on them. If they are coughing, spluttering or having trouble breathing, then go to the ER right away. The emergency team will be able to monitor your baby and use medical devices to get x-rays or ultrasounds of the lung and stomach. The problem with these beads is that they can get into the lung and block the airway. This can result in a lack of oxygen to the body. Another problem is that the small ball can cause infection in the digestive system or the lung if inhaled.
Recently my little one experienced this. She is eight months old and managed to get her curious hands onto some of the small beads. She inhaled one of them, landing her in hospital with a serious lung infection. This resulted in surgery to remove the bead from her lung. Let me tell you, its scary stuff and we were lucky. There have been reports of children dying after inhaling these beads. So please, if you do have one of these chairs in your home, make sure that the zipper cannot be opened by little hands and that the beads are far away from reach. And, at even the slightest sign that the bean bag may be close to splitting, get rid of it!