Have you heard of Bunchems? The brightly coloured balls may be small, yet the possible havoc they can wreak is huge.
Touted as a craft or building toy, Bunchems literally 'bunch' together to form interesting creations. In fact, they stick so well that should some of the 370 balls that come in a pack find their way into your child's hair, they can bring on a world of pain.
In various reviews, parents lament the hours they spent trying to get the Bunchems out of kids' hair, resulting in tears and sometimes, emergency haircuts. (Ditto for pet fur, incidentally.)
“Horrible, horrible, horrible toy for kids. I just spend the last TWO AND A HALF hours (absolutely, 100 percent not an exaggeration) attempting to remove 14 of these bastard balls out of my daughter’s hair," read one review, by Ethan Benoit, on Amazon.com.
"Buy this toy for someone if you hate them or their child. They are the most incredible choking hazards on the planet. They bring pain and misery, tears, fighting, broken and ripped hair, and questions of one’s sanity in handling life in general. I can’t feel my arms now after attempting to pull this spawn from hell 'toy' that matted itself into her hair like nothing ever witnessed before...”
Similar reviews prompted the manufacturer to release a video showing parents how to remove Bunchems using hair conditioner and vegetable oil.
The items are available at various major retailers in Canada, too. Though it has been lauded as activity toy of the year for kids aged 4 to 9, Bunchems should come with a very prominent warning. And as a matter of fact, they do.
So heads up, parents, rather than ban Bunchems outright, please educate yourself and your children before they play - as you would for any other toy.