RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A tomato-shaped toy called Splat Ball gave Sarah Sharpe and her mom, Carly, more than they expected.
Sarah and her grandma found the toy last week at a dollar store. "I wanted Grammy to get me one, and she did and there was one that was squashed, and I got one that was good," explained the 5-year-old girl.
She'd played with it for a couple of days and then but got the shock of her life Saturday.
"I was watching my DVD player in my room, and I was sitting there squishing it, and it popped up because it had a hole and it went in my eyes," she described.
"I heard it pop and she screamed the loudest scream," added her mom. "She just closed her eyes and screamed. It went all over her face."
Sharpe said she washed the little girl's eyes and face, then rushed her to a hospital because her eyes wouldn't stop hurting. Doctors diagnosed the problem as conjunctivitis from a chemical exposure. According to www.SafeProducts.Gov, the chemical in the toy is similar to chemicals you would find in a shampoo.
Sharpe bought a second ball to get product info from the packet. The toy is made in China, but distributed by Ja-Ru Inc out of Jacksonville.
NBC12 emailed the company to ask about the product, but Ja-Ru has not yet responded. An Internet search shows two similar complaints filed on the federal consumer website www.safeproducts.gov.
Carly said she's had no luck reaching Ja-Ru, not to threaten a suit, but to voice her concerns. "I just want to prevent this from happening to someone else before it permanently hurts another child," the mother stated. In the meantime, she said she's paying closer attention to little Sarah's toys.
NBC12 also reached out to Dollar General's Corporate office, our emails and phone calls have not been returned.