PARENTS are being warned of the dangers of a new toy craze that has resulted in children starting to choke after they got it wrapped around their necks.

The Yucky Yo Ball is made from an elastic material and filled with a liquid.

An elastic string is moulded onto the ball at one end and there is a loop at the other end of the string for the child to hold.

This string can be stretched to several feet, so the ball can be swung around and springs back when thrown away.

Officers at Hartlepool Borough Council's trading standards department have received two complaints about the toy and are urging parents to be extra vigilant.

In each case, a child had swung the ball around their head, the elastic string had wrapped around the child's neck and the child had started to choke.

As the string was under tension, the children could not remove them and adults had to come to their aid.

Malcolm Graham, senior trading standards officer at the council, said; "Although this toy appears to meet the relevant safety standards, we are extremely concerned by these two complaints and we want to make sure people are aware of this risk.

"Luckily, neither child suffered any injuries, but it was still a shock.

"If anyone has bought one of these toys for a child, we would urge them to be extremely careful.

"Our advice would be that if they do allow the child to play with the toy, then it is only under strict adult supervision."

The toys, which are imported from China, cost £1 each and are becoming popular with children. They have passed the toy safety regulations standard.

Anyone who has a complaint to make about the toys is asked to call the trading standards department on (01429) 523351.