Burger King held a $22 million Pokémon promotion in 1999. The promotion was to last 8 weeks, from November to December with little Poke balls with Pokémon toys inside the balls.
Ten days into the promotion they already had a shortage of the toys due to the high demand. On December 11, 1999 a 13-month-old girl in Sonora, California was found dead in her playpen with half of the Poke ball covering her nose and mouth.
She had suctioned the ball over her nose and mouth accidentally and suffocated. Burger King was asked to recall the balls, but at the time it was inconclusive whether the balls were to blame for the toddler’s death or not.
On December 23, 1999 another girl, an 18-month-old girl in Kansas was found with the ball suctioned over her nose and mouth. Luckily her father had found her in time and pulled it off before she was really injured.
Burger King then recalled the toys. More than 25 million balls were included in the recall. Parents were told to either throw the toy away or return it to Burger King and receive a free order of small fries.