Andrew’s Story


Andrew was nearly strangled by a yo-yo water ball, an inexpensive toy sold at dollar stores and often given as party favors. He was five years old at the time.

Submitted by his mother, Lisa

My name is Lisa Lipin. I want to inform every parent around the country about a potentially deadly toy known as the “Yo-Yo Water Ball”.

On July 22, 2003, my then 5yr. old son, Andrew, was playing with his yo-yo water ball swinging it around his head when suddenly the cord of the toy wrapped 4 times around his neck cutting off his airway. Andrew quickly ran to me and in a faint voice said “cut, cut”. I didn’t have time to look for a scissor instead I just took by hand and ripped the cord up over his face and head. Andrew was left with red strangulation marks for a few days but a memory that I’m sure will last a lifetime for both of us. I contacted the US Consumer Product Safety Commission the next morning to file an incident report. I was stunned when I was told by the CPSC operator that they were already aware of the strangulation hazard, there had been many reports already made and currently the toy was under investigation. I told the man that I was going to contact the media to make sure that this child safety issue was made public.

This was the beginning of my campaign to get yo-yo water balls banned for sale in the United States. I contacted many politicians to ask for assistance in getting the government to take action. I contacted all media sources to bring the issue to parents. I have appeared on many news segments on NBC, ABC & FOX. Many articles have been written in The Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, Pioneer Press and The Washington Post. I contacted consumer advocates around the country including Kids In Danger, W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm) and the Consumer Federation of America. My son and I testified at an IL Senate Committee Hearing in Springfield where the senators unanimously approved to move a proposed Resolution to the senate floor that urges the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban this dangerous toy.

My voice is being heard loud and clear around the country. While we are very fortunate as parents to have organizations like Kids In Danger and other advocacy agencies, we must remember that parents can make a difference too! I remain committed to protecting the children in our country from unsafe children’s toys. I encourage all parents to do the same. Our children are our future and they depend on us for their safety!

Editor’s Note: You can contact Lisa and read more about the “Yo-Yo Water Ball” at Dangers Of Water Yo-Yo’s. Due to the efforts of Lisa, yo-yo balls are now banned in Illinois, New York and New Jersey and similar legislation is being considered in other states. In addition, new federal legislation will require toy makers to adhere to the ASTM F963 toy standard by early 2009, which prohibits yo-yo balls with long stretchy cords.

For more information, check out: Product Hazards/Toys