RICHMOND, Va. (ABC) — One of this year’s most popular toys may also be a parent’s worst nightmare.
Parents are sharing their horrific experiences trying to remove Bunchems from their children’s hair. Bunchems are little colored plastic balls about the size of a quarter that stick to each other. The toy, which is targeted to children ages 4 and up, have spindly legs that can be “squished and connected,” according to Spin Master Ltd., the Canadian company that manufactures Bunchems. The problem is, they’re also sticking and connecting to hair.
Dottie Hutchens said she bought Bunchems for her grandchildren Hailey Belle, 5, and Ty, 4, this week. Ty playfully plopped his Bunchem creature on his sister’s head and that’s when Hailey Belle started screaming for help. “She said, ‘It hurts. I can’t get it out,'” Hutchens told ABC News.
It took Hutchens and her daughter-in-law more than two hours to remove 20 Bunchems from Hailey Belle’s hair, Hutchens said. Combing the hair around the Bunchems made the tangles worse, she said, noting that the only remedy that worked was hair conditioner. Hailey Belle also had a good chunk of hair taken out in the process, Hutchens said.
“I was crying, Hailey Belle was sobbing,” Hutchens said. “It was so traumatic.”
Hutchens’ daughter-in-law has since filed a formal complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Reviews of Bunchems on Amazon.com are mixed. The toy is rated 3.3 stars out of 5, with 30 percent of reviewers giving it 1 star. One Amazon user titled his review “A Toy Spawned From the Darkest Depths of Hell.”
Spin Master officials said they are aware that the product may end up in a child’s hair unintentionally. The company posted a video on YouTube in August that gives instructions for how to remove a wayward Bunchem.