WRAL.com at the State Fair

What happened to the water walking balls?

Posted October 16, 2011 10:29 a.m. EDT
Updated October 16, 2011 10:30 a.m. EDT

If you were at the Fair last year, you may have noticed a very odd kiddie amusement: inflatable plastic water balls. Kids climbed in, the balls were inflated, zipped up, and floated on water. You may have also noticed that this year there are none of these rides at all. Why?

Those inflatable spheres are called "Water Walking Balls," and the reason you won't see them this year is that on March 31 the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a strong warning against them, as you can see at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11185.html. And by strong warning I mean the following: "CPSC is warning consumers that there is a combination of risks associated with this product, including the potential for suffocation, as well as the potential for drowning and impact injuries.... CPSC has informed state amusement ride officials of the risks associated with this product and encourages state officials not to permit this ride in their state. CPSC does not know of any safe way to use this product."

That doesn't mean your kids can't have fun walking on the water. Instead of a sphere, though, the new rides are water rollers (or water barrels) open at both sides. Some of the ones I saw had two kids in them instead of one, and it looked like they were a lot more sturdy (as evidenced from the occasional bit of "water roller bumper cars.") If your kid wants to go for a spin, you'll find them at Kiddieland, over near the Education building.