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Popular Rubber Band Bracelets May Pose Danger

By Lisa Sigell

TOLUCA LAKE (CBS) — Rubber band bracelets in all kinds of shapes and sizes are the hot new fashion trend with lots of kids, but can the popular bracelets pose a danger?

"He went to bed one night and had maybe 20 on his wrist," Gina Corwin, Huck's mom, said.

And when two and a half year old Huck woke up, his hand was swollen and blue.

"It looked like he had cut his wrist with a knife," she added.

Weeks later, Huck hasn't forgotten what happened. His doctor says he is lucky. If the bracelets are worn for too long and are too tight, they can create a tourniquet-like effect to interfere with blood flow and clots can form.

Chris Palmier, 8, knows just how scary it can be.

"It was like a freak show or something. It was five times bigger than his other hand and the doctor said to give it three days and to come in," his mom said.

It took four days for the blood flow to completely return to Chris' hand.

The Palmiers and twelve other families nationwide, including here in California, have filed complaints about these bands with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Swelling of the hand, hand turning red, a swollen hand that would have done damage, sores on the wrist, redness and inflammation were among some of the complaints listed.

And while these kids are having a great time and they really are a fad, doctors say if parents aren't careful, there could be more complaints and injuries.

"A best case scenario would be temporary discomfort, a little swelling, keep the injured part elevated. Worst case scenario? Lose a finger, lose a hand," Emergency Room Physician Craig Huang said.

"You know I do notice that they are tight when you get a whole bunch of them on at the same time. We don't put too many on, you know they don't get up too high, they're not wearing them too long, they won't wear them to bed," one parent said.

"Everyone is playing with them, they're a fad. But it's not the $5,000 toy that your kid can't have," she added.

The packages of these rubber band bracelets do have warnings which state that they are not for children under three, some even say not for kids under six.

Doctors say make sure your kids know the rules; don't wear them to bed and never put them on too tight. If the bands are leaving a mark, they need to wear a bigger size.

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