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Parents warn others about dangers of water beads; son hospitalized

After a scary time, a Florida family is urging parents to throw out these toys as they caused their son to become hospitalized.
Parents warn others about dangers of water beads; son hospitalized
Posted at 5:22 AM, Jul 20, 2023

A Palm Beach County, Florida, family has a warning for other parents after their son ate a popular toy.

The family faced what they said was one of the scariest moments of their lives when their 10-year-old son with autism ate a handful of water beads by mistake.

What followed was a three-day hospital stay at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach and a whole lot of fear.

They’re taking this as a learning experience and hoping that no parent has to go through the same scare.

"Unfortunately, I didn’t do the research," Crystal Morris said. "I thought autism, sensory toy; I bring them home."

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Morris is the mother of 10-year-old Rowan.

Rowan lives with autism, and when he ate about seven beads, his mother called for help. She kept calling Rob Austin, Rowan’s dad.

The "third phone call I got, she was in tears and being transferred from one hospital to the next," Austin said.

Morris said she called poison control, but they weren’t much help. She eventually brought him to St. Mary’s, where Dr. Anne Fischer took over in the pediatric unit.

"The toys are very gorgeous," Fischer said. "They make them prettier and prettier. Parents have to have this imagination of unintended consequences."

Rowan spent a few nights at the hospital, putting everything into perspective for his mother.

"You start to think about all the things you love the most about your child," she said.

He eventually got rid of the beads, naturally, and that was a huge sense of relief for mom, dad, and the whole medical team.

Fischer said that although this case was new to them and they had to learn a lot through Rowan’s care, there’s still an important lesson to learn here.

"Children think anything is a toy," she said.

After a scary time and a healthy resolution, the family has a message for other parents.

"Get rid of them," said Morris of the beads. "If you don’t have them already, don’t get them. If you do have them, get rid of them."

The family said they’ve reached out to all the centers Rowan visits for his therapies to make sure the little beads are nowhere near the 10-year-old.

This story was originally published by Victor Jorges for Scripps News West Palm Beach.

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