Popular Toy Bunchems Causing Hair-Raising Experiences for Parents, Kids

Bunchems can take hours to remove from kids' hair.

— -- One of this year's most popular toys may also be a parent's worst nightmare.

Parents are sharing their horrific experiences trying to remove Bunchems from their children's hair. Bunchems are little colored plastic balls about the size of a quarter that stick to each other. The toy, which is targeted to children ages 4 and up, have spindly legs that can be "squished and connected," according to Spin Master Ltd., the Canadian company that manufactures Bunchems. The problem is, they're also sticking and connecting to hair.

Dottie Hutchens said she bought Bunchems for her grandchildren Hailey Belle, 5, and Ty, 4, this week. Ty playfully plopped his Bunchem creature on his sister's head and that's when Hailey Belle started screaming for help. "She said, 'It hurts. I can't get it out,'" Hutchens told ABC News.

It took Hutchens and her daughter-in-law more than two hours to remove 20 Bunchems from Hailey Belle's hair, Hutchens said. Combing the hair around the Bunchems made the tangles worse, she said, noting that the only remedy that worked was hair conditioner. Hailey Belle also had a good chunk of hair taken out in the process, Hutchens said.

"I was crying, Hailey Belle was sobbing," Hutchens said. "It was so traumatic."

Hutchens' daughter-in-law has since filed a formal complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Janelle Goff, owner of Janelle No. 5 Salon in Windward, Maine, said she and two employees spent more than three hours removing Bunchems from her niece's hair in August.

"I thought I would have to cut them all out," Goff remembered. "We removed the Bunchems with a detangler and they were coated in broken hairs."

"You can use any vegetable oil or hair conditioner you have handy," the video narrator says. "If they aren't budging, apply a little more conditioner and comb the hair below until all the knots are out."

The 48-second video has been viewed more than 16,000 times.

Gerrick Johnson, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets who covers the toy industry, lists Bunchems as one of his top ten toys this holiday season because Bunchems can be personalized and customized -- the hottest trends in the industry, according to Johnson. He acknowledges that Bunchems can be "murder" to get out of hair but he doubts that Bunchems will lose their appeal for that reason.

"Gum is worse in the hair and you still see people buying gum," he told ABC News.

Bunchems launched this August and sales have been "strong," according to Arlene Biran, vice president of marketing at Spin Master. Biran said the company has received "a few calls" about hair tangles and created the instructional videos to help parents. She insisted that the company provides ample warnings to parents that Bunchems "may become entangled" in hair.

"Spin Master makes every effort to caution parents against the potential for misuse on both the packaging and directions," Biran said.