An eight-month old girl has had surgery after a toy she swallowed grew to almost four times its size inside her body.
Britain's Daily Mail reports Aunraya from Humble, Texas, swallowed the water-absorbent ball after mistaking it for a "piece of candy".
After swallowing the marble-sized toy it expanded inside her body, blocking her intestines.
ABC News reports the girl vomited bile, had a distended bell and severe constipation after swallowing the ball and was rushed to hospital.
X-ray images show the loops of Aunraya's digestive tract wider than normal, although the ball itself is not visible. Surgeons removed a 3.5cm gel ball from the girl's small intestines.
Texas Children's Hospital pediatric surgeon Oluyinka Olutoye told the Daily Mail the ball could have perforated the girl's gut or caused peritonitis.
"We were fortunate enough that we operated early enough", Dr Olutoye said.
Aunraya left hospital after four days.
Dr Olutoye said the toys, named "Water Balz", concerned doctors as their prevalence increased. Tests on the toys showed they could grow to 5.5cm without degrading.
"While they are fun and make good science projects, [they] can have disastrous consequence when ingested," he said.
The toy's packaging says the balls are not suitable for children under the age of four.
The incident is believed to be the first case of a blockage resulting from swallowing the toy.
Dunecraft Inc. which is behind the toy, said the toys are made for older children.
"(They are) obviously not for an 8-month-old," CEO Grant Cleveland said."You wouldn't let your 8-month-old near [loose] change or marbles. Even Legos are dangerous to an 8-month-old."
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.