A group of six retailers has issued a swift recall of two high-powered magnet products by the same manufacturer, warning that the products are defective in design and fail to warn consumers of the "substantial risk of injury and death to children and teenagers."
Our Anderson personal injury lawyers understand that the Buckyballs and Buckycubes are the latest in a long list of magnet products that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned against.
In fact, the CPSC issued a release two years ago, warning of severe consequences for children of all ages who had ingested high-powered magnets. The problem is not only the potential choking risk, but the fact that when one or more of these magnets are swallowed, they can attract one another internally. That can cause serious injuries or even death due to small holes in the intestines and stomach, or by causing intestinal blockage or blood poisoning.
Such incidents have been on the rise since 2009, according to the CPSC. There was one incident that year. There were seven the year after and they had doubled to 14 the following year. They have continued to rise, with 54 total reports of children ingesting the product - 53 of those requiring intensive medical intervention.
Unlike many ingestion warnings, the danger is posed not just to babies and toddlers, but also to older children and even teenagers. The oldest person affected was 15 years-old. From 2009 through 2011, there were 11 surgeries required to remove the magnets. In a lot of the cases where doctors ordered surgery to remove the magnets, additional procedures were required to repair the child's intestines and stomach.
So far, there haven't been any reports of death, but the risk is very real, particularly if multiple magnets are consumed or if treatment is delayed.
Part of the problem is a lot of these sets - including the Buckyballs and Buckycubes, come in sets of about 200 or so magnets, so it's tough for parents to identify when a few might go missing. Very young children have found stray magnets on the table, in the refrigerator, on the floor or between sofa cushions.
With teenagers, a number of the ingestion incidents were unintentional, but a few were intentional.
Buckyballs' manufacturer was quoted back in 2011 as saying that the products were only intended for adult use or in homes where children were over the age of 14.
But in some cases prior to 2008, children's toys actually contain a number of high-powered magnets and there have been reports of those magnets falling out of the toys. There is now a mandatory standard in place that prohibits magnets or magnet components in toys made for children under the age of 14.
The most recent recall stems from a July 2012 administrative complaint that the CPSC filed against the company's manufacturer, after they failed to institute a voluntary recall. (The agency has only submitted four such complaints in the last dozen years, so it truly speaks to the negligence of this firm.)
The agency said it is still receiving injury reports relating to these magnets, which is why the retailers themselves chose to act.
- Barnes & Noble;
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Marbles the Brain Store