Why Was Water Wiggle Banned? Toy Banned After Death Of Two Including John McCabe

Water Wiggle ( Source : Pinterest )

The father of a 4-year-old son who drowned after a water-spurting  Water Wiggle toy became trapped in his throat sobbed as he told a jury how he used a butter knife to extricate the device from the boy's lips.

The incident was recounted by Robert McCabe on the first day of testifying in his $5 million lawsuits against Wham-O Manufacturing Co., the creator of 'Water Wiggle.'

Water Wiggle Death- What Happened To John McCabe? 

On March 25, 1978, John, then four years old, was playing with the toy in his backyard with several other kids. However, the bell-shaped head slipped out of the nozzle and became trapped in his mouth.

Joey, his 7-year-old brother, quickly turned off the water and ran inside to find their father. Everything John's father attempted failed to remove the nozzle. He allegedly sliced the hose with a butter knife. The water wiggle, on the other hand, did not move an inch.

Water Wiggler caused death of by named John McCabe.
Water Wiggler caused death of by named John McCabe. ( Source : Rinovelty )

McCabe eventually drowned by accident. As he breathed his final breath in his father's arm, his lungs and body were filled with water.

The attorneys for the McCabe, John Spencer Robinson of Daytona Beach and Melvin Belli of San Francisco, said the toy was faulty and should never have been sold.

'The box itself depicts tiny children playing cheerfully and blissfully with (the toy),' said Belli, a well-known products liability attorney. 'The wiggle is fatal when the cap comes off.'

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Water Wiggler Toy Banned After Kids Dies Accidentally

After choking a youngster to death, water wiggle was hated by parents and it slowly got banned all over. During the 1960s and early 1970s, Wham-O Manufacturing's Water Wiggle was quite a popular product.

When it was first introduced in 1962, it was an instant success for the corporation. In fact, over the course of 17 years, Wham-O sold over 2.5 million units of water wiggles.

Approximately 85,000 of the toys were returned. When the water was switched on, a goofy-faced plastic cowl covered a hook-shaped metal spout that linked to water outlets and bounced around the yard.

Water Wiggler was banned.
Water Wiggler was banned. ( Source : Amazon )

In the 1970s, children drowned after removing the toy's head and placing the metal connection in their mouth. It didn't matter if it was the toy's fault or not. Following the second tragedy, Wham-O recalled the toy and took the remaining off the market.

The Water Wiggle would be discontinued until 1986 when Wham-O temporarily resurrected a (supposedly) safer version of the toy. However, there is no mention of this item on the Wham-O website now.

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Why Was Water Wiggle Toy Dangerous?

Kids love to mistreat their toys, but every now and then a toy flips the script and inflicts some abuse of its own. The Water Wiggle seems innocuous enough with its comical smiling face, but it has appeared to be a game for children that might kill them if played recklessly.

To expect a normal 1970s youngster to forget such an infamous toy is a difficult request. The Water Wiggle may have been a touch sadistic in its splashing antics, but it was also a lot of fun for most of us, giving millions of youngsters fantastic summer memories.

In 1975 in Baton Rouge, Marcus Manley, 3, was killed by the same toy. Marcus' family reached an out-of-court settlement with Wham-O, although one lawyer stated that the McCabe would not settle for $50 million. 'They want to expose this firm,' he explained.

Craig Cameron, Wham-attorney claimed the toy met federal safety regulations and came with proper warnings about its usage. Craig also said that a dog nibbled a portion of the toy's top, making it easier for Joey to get into his mouth.

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