I don’t remember how old I was when I decided to play with a canister of mosquito repellent. Let’s just say I was old enough to know better.
Anyway, I took the can of repellent outside, set it on the ground and then struck it with a tool we used for clearing brush. I’m not sure what I expected to happen — but it certainly wasn’t the subsequent explosive depressurization.
The point is that kids don’t always play with things in the manner in which people intend. In my case, it was simple childish irresponsibility.
But in the case of Bunchems, it’s not so cut and dried. Back in 2015, Refinery29 reported that these squishy round orbs were up for a Toy of the Year award (which it eventually won).
What exactly are they? Think of squishy round balls with little tentacle-like appendages sprouting off of them.
Kids can squish them together to craft various creations. Sounds harmless enough, right?
However, there’s an unfortunate feature of the toy that no one initially realized: They get really, really stuck in hair.
In the final days of 2018, Arkansas resident Jasmine Nikunen discovered that the hard way. According to WKYC, her daughter, Scarlett, was playing with a bunch of Bunchems.
And though the box says, “Keep away from hair,” her cousin squished 50 of them into her long locks.
“Collin, who is three, poured the whole bucket over her head, and she tried to shake them out, and they immediately started to matte up like dreadlocks,” Nikunen said.
Two days after the mother posted in a Facebook group looking for advice, she was finally able to free her daughter’s hair.
“I thought we were never going to get them out. It took six hands (and) 12-and-a-half hours to get them out,” Nikunen said.
Nikunen isn’t the only parent with a horror story to tell about Bunchems. Bonnie Brushwood shared a picture of her daughter’s hair tangled in Bunchems on Twitter, writing, “Bunchems. Five minutes of fun and five hours of clean up. Hair not included.”
An online reviewer cautioned, “KEEP AWAY FROM HAIR!!! A girl at my sister’s party fell back on them at them (sic) on her bed and became extremely entangled without doing anything.
“Sat there for 2 hrs trying baby oil, mayo, olive oil, etc. trying to get them out. Ended up having to cut hug section of her hair out!”
Another reviewer added, “I told my kids not to put them in their hair. My daughter made a bracelet, then a necklace.
“She was trying the necklace on, then the bracelet on her wrist got entangled in her hair. She slung her head around, and before she knew it, the necklace was entangled in her hair, too.”
Bunchems are probably an awesome toy, but perhaps the kids they’re best suited for are those with crew cuts!
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