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Mum's Worst Nightmare As 150 Bunchems Get Stuck In Daughters Hair

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Mum's Worst Nightmare As 150 Bunchems Get Stuck In Daughters Hair

Mum Lisa Hoezle was faced with her "worst nightmare" when her daughter's Bunchems toys ended up stuck in her hair -150 of them to be exact.

Lisa's twins were playing in the basement recently when 'jokester' brother Noah Hoezle tipped a whole box of the 'velcro'-like balls over Abigail Hoelzle's head.

The mother-of-two said she had an "out of body experience" when her six-year-old Abigail appeared with the toys completely matted into layers of her hair, with some even gripped tightly to her scalp.

"I have certain toys that I put away that I know would be a big mess or a hazard if I wasn't sitting there and then there's toys that I let them play freely with - the Bunchems were in that category," she said.

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Little Abigail got in quite a tangle (Credit: Kennedy News & Media)
Little Abigail got in quite a tangle (Credit: Kennedy News & Media)

"They were probably down there 10 to 15 minutes tops and Noah came up and said 'mummy, Abigail has something stuck in her hair'.

"When he realised what happened he cried. He said 'why did they make them if that happens?' - it was really devastating for the whole entire family.

"I was my worst mom nightmare to date that's for sure - I know there could be a lot worse things that could happen and I'm grateful for our health, but it certainly was a nightmare."

It was a long road ahead from when Abigail first reared her Bunchems filled head, taking 47-year-old Lisa three hours to remove just 15 of the Bunchems, before her husband Dan Hoelzle, 45, arrived home.

Mum Lisa spent 20 hours detangling her daughter's hair (Credit: Kennedy News & Media)
Mum Lisa spent 20 hours detangling her daughter's hair (Credit: Kennedy News & Media)

It was then they looked up similar incidents, and found some kids had been left with completely "ruined" hair.

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Lisa claims advice on manufacturer Spin Master's website suggested using conditioner or vegetable oil - but in her experience this only "made it worse".

The parents tried until 1am to get rid of the balls, while an "exhausted" Abigail snoozed. Lisa tackled the majority of the balls with mineral oil, a shower cap and a detangle comb, describing it as "the worst job imaginable".

Lisa said: "I was really calm in the beginning and then when I realised 'holy cow, mummy can usually fix everything and I don't think I can fix this', that's when I had a crying meltdown.

"It was very mentally draining - like the worst job imaginable that you know you have to do and you dread doing it, but I tried to make it fun.

The Bunchems do already come with a warning (Credit: Kennedy News & Media)
The Bunchems do already come with a warning (Credit: Kennedy News & Media)
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"We sat in her bedroom and watched TV, had snacks and sang songs - every time she'd get a little angsty my mom would bring her a lollipop.

"I started naming them - any way that we could psychologically get through it.

"I was doing all this work but didn't know what the end result would be or if her hair was going to fall out from all the pulling."

Lisa barely slept throughout the whole experience, and her fingertips were literally swollen by the time all the balls were out.

But she admits the sense of achievement once she was rid of all the toys was pretty huge.

After the 20 hours of labouring, Lisa shared her ordeal on Facebook to raise awareness, where it amassed more than 110,000 likes, comments and shares.

Lisa, of Churchville, Pennsylvania, US, said: "I can laugh about it now - it's funny it [her hair] did look like Cindy Lou Who [from the Grinch].

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"I couldn't believe that I got them out - it was the best feeling ever - like Christmas on steroids.

"We were so blessed and I feel like it was a small miracle in a lot of ways - that she sat the whole time and let me do it because normally she doesn't like to get her hair brushed, and that we were able to get them out without any bald spots.

Getting the Bunchems out was never ending (Credit: Kennedy News & Media)
Getting the Bunchems out was never ending (Credit: Kennedy News & Media)

"This is something that we'll be talking about for our whole entire lives - I will be talking about this with my future grandchildren as it was one of those experiences that you'd never forget.

"I'm hoping it might save some hair, headaches and heartache for some families."

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Toy manufacturer Spin Master said that the packaging clearly states they 'may' become entangled in hair and it was 'important for parents to understand' that they were only intended to be adhered to other Bunchems.

However, Lisa says that while there's a small label at the front of the toy's packaging warning that they may get tangled in hair "may get tangled' was an "understatement", given their "crazy" experience.

She claims Spin Master's online guidance made the removal process "look so easy" but it didn't work for them.

In fact, following her post on social media, Lisa was inundated with messages from those who've had similar experiences - and was even sent pictures of the little toys suck in grown men's beards and animals.

Luckily, the little'n's hair wasn't too ruined (Credit: Kennedy News & Media)
Luckily, the little'n's hair wasn't too ruined (Credit: Kennedy News & Media)

In a bid to bring about change she's also launched a formal complaint with Spin Master and urges those who've gone through the same ordeal to get in touch with them too.

Lisa said: "I wanted to make them aware of how many people this is happening to - which was mind blowing to me as my phone was blowing up with 'same thing happened to me'.

"Parents said Christmas has been ruined as they got stuck in hair on Christmas eve and had to spend the next day getting them out - it's insane.

"This wasn't like it was just my kids playing and a freak accident with just them - there are lots of children that this has happened to, and to me that's heart-breaking and I really hope they make a change about it.

"I suggested [to Spin Master] stronger warning labels to inform parents before they open the package inside and possibly to include a shower cap - so parents would know they mean business."

A spokesperson for Spin Master said: "When we launched Bunchems in August 2015, we received an overwhelmingly positive response from children, parents and industry partners.

"Bunchems are colourful, soft, tactile balls that make endless creations, however, they are intended only to be adhered to other Bunchems. This is particularly important for parents and caregivers to understand.

Lisa is warning other mums might not save their kids' hair like she did (Credit: Kennedy News & Media)
Lisa is warning other mums might not save their kids' hair like she did (Credit: Kennedy News & Media)

"The Bunchems packaging and directions clearly state: 'Caution: Keep away from hair. May become entangled.'

"Immediately after the product was released in 2015 and after hearing from a few consumers about hair entanglement, we quickly developed instructional videos for our YouTube channel and website as a way to proactively educate people on how to play with the product and how to remove Bunchems from hair if they do get tangled.

"We were also very careful to avoid depicting any creations in our marketing materials that show an end result that could be 'worn' or placed on or near hair. The vast majority of calls our customer care team received were from people trying to find the product at retail.

"There is still product in market, however the brand has since been discontinued as of 2019 as our activities category has moved on to other fun tactile products such as Kinetic Sand and Orbeez.

"We still want everyone to enjoy the endless play Bunchems has provided, and to ensure safe fun, we encourage consumers to follow the directions carefully and properly. Spin Master's Customer Care team can always be reached."

Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News & Media

Topics: Toys, Kids, Life, Parenting, Real Life

Joanna Freedman
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