Risks of loom bands lodged in noses
There is an urgent need for more awareness of the dangers of loom bands amid the potential for the popular children's accessory to become lodged in their noses, a report has warned.
Four children were treated at a Scottish hospital in just one week after the rubber bands became stuck, according to an article in the Journal of Laryngology & Otology.
Loom bands - tiny loops of elastic in different colours that can be linked together to create low-cost jewellery such as necklaces and bracelets - have become something of a craze, with even the Duchess of Cambridge and pop star Harry Styles seen wearing them.
But in a paper entitled Loom bands and young children - a tragedy waiting to happen? staff from the ENT Department at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie, said there had been a surge in the popularity of the bands recently, and urged people to be aware of the potential risks.
The report's authors said: "Although the four cases presented were resolved without the need for general anaesthetic, the ever-soaring prevalence and popularity of loom bands necessitates a degree of caution and vigilance from parents, retailers and manufacturers alike.
"We believe there is an urgent need for greater public awareness of their potential hazards."
There is a risk of inhalation when objects become stuck in nasal passages, obstructing the airway, they added.
In August o ne of the country's leading toy stores removed loom band charms from its shelves after they were found to contain potentially harmful chemicals.
The Entertainer said the charms could contain phthalates, which can disrupt hormones in children.
The chemicals, which are used to soften plastics, have been banned in toys on sale in the European Union for several years.
Manchester-based RMS International, which supplied the charms to The Entertainer, said the incident involved only a number of PVC loom charms, adding that loom bands are "entirely safe".