14 August 2007

9 Million More Toys Recalled by Mattel for Dangerous Magnets

This time my family is affected by the recent recall by Mattel. There will be tears in our household today, as toys Grandpa bought my daughter are included on the list. The concern is powerful magnets that can be swallowed and cause major damage.
The list includes:
Barbie and Tanner - hazardous magnet
Batman - hazardous magnet
Polly Pockets - hazardous magnet
Doggie Daycare - hazardous magnet
One Piece - hazardous magnet
Sarge cars - lead in paint

All affected toys were made in China.

Another recall occurred earlier for Mag Stix Magnetic Building Sets, as serious intestinal injury can occur from swallowing these powerful magnets. This was another toy we had in our home. A child living relatively close to our home suffered major injuries from swallowing loose magnets. "Extensive surgery was required to remove the magnets and repair intestinal perforations," according to the CPSC.

Magnets are very cool for children to experiment with, but safety should always be the concern of toy manufacturers. There are plenty of wonderful ways for children to explore the properties of magnet forces with larger products that do not cause harm.

Hearthsong offers a great magnetic toy, that is appropriate for older children or with close supervision for younger ones. The Deluxe Magnet Set includes "a giant horseshoe magnet powerful enough to lift up to four pounds! Also included are two mighty magnetic wands, 20 magnetic marbles, 50 circular transparent discs, colorful paper clips, metal bolts and washers, 4 colorful magnetic shapes, and 3 magnetic discs." It is on sale now for $17.99! The magnetic marbles and magnetic discs could be swallowed by a young child (there are other parts that could be swallowed too, but they are not magnetic), thus the toy is recommended for children four years and up. We have this toy in our preschool; however, I only allow children to request to play with it when there is supervision available.

The CPSC lists magnets at the #1 hidden home hazard. They warn, "Since 2005: 1 Death, 86 Injuries; 8 million magnetic toys recalled.

Today's rare-earth magnets can be very small and powerful making them
popular in toys, building sets, and jewelry. As the number of products
with magnets has increased, so has the number of serious injuries to
children. In several hundred incidents, magnets have fallen out of
various toys and been swallowed by children. Small intact pieces of
building sets that contain magnets have also been swallowed by children.
If two or more magnets, or a magnet and another metal object are
swallowed separately, they can attract to one another through intestinal
walls and get trapped in place. The injury is hard to diagnose. Parents
and physicians may think that the materials will pass through the child
without consequence, but magnets can attract in the body and twist or
pinch the intestines, causing holes, blockages, infection, and death, if
not treated properly and promptly.

Watch carefully for loose magnets and magnetic pieces and keep away from
younger children (less than 6). If you have a recalled product with
magnets, stop using it, call the company today, and ask for the remedy."

"Play is the highest form of research." -Albert Einstein