Magnet Toys Pose Serious Dangers
Written by Faith Anderson on July 18, 2012
Small Magnets Pose Potential Swallowing and Choking Hazard
In addition to the possible choking hazard posed by the small magnets, the CPSC warns, if the magnets are swallowed, they may attract to each other inside the body, potentially causing internal injuries like intestinal blockage and death. According to a 2006 report issued by the CPSC, there were at least 34 cases involving the small magnets, in which one child died and four suffered injuries caused by the Magnabuild Magnetic building sets. A 20-month-old boy died after he swallowed magnets that caused his intestines to become twisted, causing a fatal blockage. Three other children between the ages of three and eight sustained intestinal perforations that required surgery and hospitalization in intensive care. In addition, a five-year-old child aspirated two magnets that had to be surgically removed from his lung.
Children Swallowing Magnets May Result in Surgery
In 2007, at least 1,500 instances of magnets separating from the building pieces were reported. Last month, a report issued by the American Academy of Pediactrics highlighted the dangers associated with children’s magnet toys, noting that they were aware of at least 200 incidents in which children swallowed high-powered magnets from toy sets since 2008. When these magnets are swallowed and attract one another, the child may require surgery to remove the magnets, which can result in additional damage to the child’s intestines and stomach.
Battat Allegedly Fails to Notify CPSC of Product Defect
The CPSC alleges that, despite being aware in early 2006 of the dangers children faced involving the ingestion of magnets, Battat failed to report the problems until October 2007, after three requests from CPSC staff. Even in that report, Battat failed to inform the CPSC of the defect and associated potential hazard in two additional models of its product. Federal law requires manufacturers, retailers and distributors to report to the CPSC within 24 hours after obtaining information involving the potential for a defective product to create a significant hazard, create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or of the product’s failure to comply with consumer product safety rules or any other rule, standard, ban or regulation enforced by the CPSC. In agreeing to the settlement, Battat denies allegations that its Magnabuild toys are associated with an unreasonable risk of injury or death, that its building set poses a considerable product hazard, or that the company violated the reporting requirements included in the Consumer Product Safety Act.