Fatal attraction: Desktop magnet sets pose hidden danger to kids

11-29-2011
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If you’ve been in a fair number of offices, you’ve seen them: desktop ornaments and stress relievers consisting of high-powered magnets (The magnets look like ball bearings). These products are often made up of as many as 200 magnets—Would you notice if a few went missing around your kids?

Since 2009, the parents of 22 children who swallowed the magnets haven’t. And when two or more high-powered magnets are ingested, they can attract each other internally, resulting in severe injuries such as holes in the stomach, intestinal blockage and even death. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received an increasing number of reports of incidents involving the magnet sets in recent years; now, it’s warning parents of the risk the products present.

“We want parents to be aware of the danger associated with these innocent looking magnets,” CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said in a press release. “The potential for serious injury and death if multiple magnets are swallowed demands that parents and medical professionals be aware of this hidden hazard and know how to treat a child in distress.”

The CPSC and magnet-set manufacturers are urging parents who have bought sets for children younger than 14 (or for households with kids under 14) to remove children’s access to the magnets immediately and contact the manufacturer for a refund. In addition, the CPSC is advising parents to regularly inspect toys and children’s play areas for missing or dislodged magnets; to monitor kids for abdominal symptoms like abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; and to seek medical attention immediately if they suspect magnets have been swallowed.

If your child has been harmed by a magnet set or any other defective product, contact the personal injury attorneys at Hodes Milman Liebeck toll-free at (866) 730-1976, or submit the contact form on our website, hodesmilman.com. We’ve achieved million-dollar verdicts in product liability actions on behalf of our clients.

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