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Are Magnetic Balls Dangerous?

A safety watchdog has filed suit against the manufacturers of magnetic balls, claiming they are dangerous to children. The Cincinnati product liability lawyers of Elk & Elk believe companies should not benefit from dangerous products.

In an effort to protect children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has sued two companies that manufacture high-powered magnetic balls.

The CPSC filed administrative complaints against Zen Magnets of Denver, CO, and Maxfield & Oberton Holdings of New York City alleging that the company’s products contain defects in the design, packaging, warnings and instructions which pose a substantial risk of injury.

Maxfield & Oberton is the manufacturer of the popular Buckyballs, the high-powered magnetic desktop toys for adults that many young children have swallowed. The tiny magnets can then cluster together and get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract, causing blockage or infection or punching holes through the stomach or intestinal walls.

Dangers of Buckyballs

Last year, the CPSC issued a safety warning about Buckyballs. In the time since the warning was issued, the agency has received reports of more than a dozen children swallowing the magnets, many needing surgery to remove them.

Eleven manufacturers or importers of sets of small, powerful, individual magnets, have voluntarily agreed to the CPSC’s requests to stop the manufacturer, import, distribution and sale of their magnet products. Only Zen Magnets and Maxfield & Oberton refused to comply.

In May 2010, CPSC and Maxfield & Oberton announced a cooperative recall of about 175,000 Buckyball sets because they were labeled “Ages 13+” and did not meet the federal mandatory toy standard requiring that such powerful loose magnets not be sold for children younger than 14.

The CPSC has received reports of toddlers finding loose magnets left within reach and placing them in their mouths. It can be very difficult for parents to notice in one or two of the magnets are missing from a large set. In some of the reported cases, toddlers have found loose magnets left on a refrigerator or in other parts of the home.

Prevent Magnet Ingestion

In tweens and teens, the CPSC reports the use of the product to mimic piercings of the tongue, lip or cheek resulting in incidents where the magnets have been unintentionally inhaled and swallowed.

The CSPC offers the following tips for parents on preventing magnet ingestion and what to do if you think your child has swallowed magnets:

  • Keep small magnets away from young children who might swallow them.
  • Look out for loose magnet pieces and regularly inspect toys and children’s play areas for missing or dislodged magnets.
  • If you suspect that your child has swallowed magnets, seek medical attention immediately
  • Watch for symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Note that in X rays, multiple magnetic pieces may appear as a single object.

Contact a Lawyer at Elk & Elk Today

The product recall lawyers of Elk & Elk have seen countless cases of dangerous products being sold to consumers, resulting in injuries or even death. The CSPC and other groups should do everything within their power to prevent companies from profiting off of toys or other products that pose a danger to anyone, especially children. These companies should not be allowed to continue to make money without taking every necessary step to ensure the safety of those who purchase the products and their families.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous product, contact the Ohio personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk today. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO and find out how we can help you.