Zhu Zhu Pets Causing New Headache

Parents say mechanical hamsters get entangled in hair

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    The Zhu Zhu Pets are the toys of the 2009 holiday season.

    The must-have gift of the Christmas season is causing a new headache.

    At least one parent says the Zhu Zhu hamsters -- who earlier this month faced bad press after it was reported they contained unsafe amounts of a heavy metal -- are poorly designed and can get tangled in the hair of young children.

    "We had to cut their hair out of these toys as the wheels easily grab their hair, winds it up very fast, leaving us with the only option of cutting their hair out," New Lenox's Michelle Verheyen wrote via e-mail.

    Verheyen said that in the three days since Christmas, she's had to cut her girls' hair more than once.

    "I... feel that this toy is marketed to young girls, many whom have long hair.  Their hair very, very easily gets caught in the wheels and gets tangled up severely.  I think the product should be recalled.  It is pathetic," Verheyen said.

    The maker of the toy, Cepia, acknowledges that it has received reports of hair entanglements, but says warning statements on the labeling and instructions caution parents to keep the toys away from hair and skin.

    "Zhu Zhu Pets are marketed for children 4 years of age and older and are designed to be played with on a smooth floor, or in or on specialized Zhu Zhu Pet accessories," the company wrote in a statement.

    Cepia says their product is marketed to children ages 4 and older.  Verheyen's daughters are 5 and 8 years old.