Putty got stuck on Elle McCabe Beggs’ eyelids and eyelashes (Image: Belfast Live WS)
The mum of a nine-year-old girl who got ‘play putty’ stuck on her eyes for three hours has told how feared she would go blind.
Elle McCabe Beggs from was on holiday with her family in Portrush in Northern Ireland when she got into a sticky mess.
BelfastLive reports that she had used her pocket money to treat herself to a pot of neon pink Super Brain Putty for £9 from a toy shop in the seaside resort.
But things went wrong when she used the putty as a pretend face mask – and soon realised she could not open her eyes.
Mum Sarah-Jane Beggs, from Bangor in County Down, said: “She started to panic and scream. I ran to her only to see her face covered in the pink putty and it was struck over her eyes, in her eyelashes and hair.
“I tried to get her to calm down but she was very frightened and worried she’d be blind. I thought it would just be a matter of wiping the putty off or rubbing her face a bit.
“But it was stuck fast. As it warmed up on her skin it seemed to be even more sticky. It was on her eye lids, in her eyes and all the way through her eye lashes.
“My mum and I got her calmed down enough to work on her and using ear buds, oil and Vaseline we eventually managed to get it off her skin and out of her eyes and hair.
“It took us three hours and we were all exhausted afterwards, both physically and emotionally.
“When we started trying to pick the putty out it seemed hopeless and my mum thought we’d be heading to A&E. But my husband had left for work in the car so we just kept trying.
“Eventually I found the ear buds and Vaseline were working and bit by bit we got all the putty removed.
“But poor Elle’s face was swollen, especially around her eyes where we had to work on her so much. We went to the chemist who gave her drops to try to prevent infection and she is much better today.”
Sarah-Jane returned to the toy shop and showed staff photos and reported Elle’s problems with the play putty to their head office. Elle, who goes to Ballymagee Primary School in Bangor, was reimbursed.
Her mum added: “We will never be having putty in our house again. I tried to keep calm but to be honest I was frightened myself for Elle and her sight. I’d no idea what was in the putty and I still don’t.
“The chemist advised us to be watchful for infections and so far so good. Elle is only nine years old and was just playing. She didn’t understand how wrong things could do.
“And I didn’t think we’d get into such a mess either. Looking at the packaging there are ingredients, no warnings and no details about the manufacturer.”
Belfast Live spoke to staff at the toy shop in Portrush selling the putty and it remained on the shelves at the time.
The manager said: “We are getting advice about this product and a decision will be made on whether we continue to keep it on the shelves. In the meantime we will let parents know how to be careful when it is being played with.”
Brian Parrish from the Toys For Play company which distributes the putty said: “I will contact Joker, the Swiss company which manufactures the putty in China, and ensure they know about this issue and hopefuly they will put instructions for use of this toy on their packaging.
“This is a new product which only came onto the market this year and the next batch has not left China yet so I’m hopeful we might get this sorted as soon as possible.”