WASHINGTON — One child died and four others suffered serious injuries after swallowing tiny magnets found in building sets sold nationwide, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday in announcing a recall of 3.8 million of the toy kits.
The commission said it has received reports of 34 incidents involving the small magnets included in the Magnetix magnetic building sets, including the X-treme Combo, Micro and Extreme versions.
A 20-month-old boy died after he swallowed magnets that twisted his small intestine and created a blockage, federal officials said. Three other children, between the ages of 3 and 8, suffered intestinal perforations that required surgery and hospitalization in intensive care. And a 5-year-old boy inhaled two magnets that had to be surgically removed from his lungs.
“However welcome the CPSC’s action is, it does not end the nightmare,” said Sim Osborn, an attorney for three families who are filing civil suits against the makers of Magnetix. “We want to make these companies think twice the next time they are tempted to put profits before the lives of innocent children.”
The magnets are fitted inside the plastic building pieces and rods but can fall out, posing a danger to children who inhale or swallow them. Should a child ingest more than one of the magnets, the magnets can clump together and pierce or block the intestines.
The toys were sold from September 2003 through March 2006 at Wal-Mart, Target, Toys R Us, Fred Meyer, Design Science Toys Ltd., A.C. Moore and other stores nationwide. They cost between $20 and $60.
The Chinese-made sets were imported by Rose Art Industries Inc. of Livingston, N.J.
Attempts to reach the company by telephone Thursday after business hours were unsuccessful.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said consumers should stop using the sets and return them to Rose Art for a free replacement product. Consumers with questions can contact Rose Art at 1-800-272-9667 or visit the company’s Web site at www.roseart.com.
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