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CPSC Anounces Rule for Small Magnet Sets

Remember hearing about those small, highly powerful magnet sets that kids were swallowing, causing them injury? It was picked up by national and local news programming a few months back because the nature of the injury made the issue newsworthy. The product is essentially just a large quanity of highly powerful magnets. The idea of the toy is for kids to be able to shape these magnets into new and interesteding shapes, fostering creativity.

Unfortunately, the product works by having the little magnets, each in the form of a small metallic ball, snapping together. The problem arose when kids started swallowing them--likely a foreseable possibility for the manufacturer due to children of a young age regularly seeking to swallow small toys. In this instance, however, when a child swallows more than one of these, they work through the child's digestive system and then (generaly when moving through the child's intestines) get close enough to each other to snap together by the magnetic force. This stops the digestive flow and the magnets become stuck, along with anything they're blocking. Swallow many magnets, and there is a bigger problem.

This is the type of news story that one sees and instantly wonders what the manufacturer was thinking. It seems obvious that this would be the result of unleashing the product into commerce. You may be wondering just how many of these incidents there were. After all, the news stories only ran for a week or two. Well, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that these magnet sets accounted for 1,700 emergency room-treated injuries between 2009 and 2011.

Now the CPSC has voted 4-0 to propose a new rule to set a mandatory standard for magnets based on their size and strength. The proposed rule has a 75 day public comment period.

If your child has been injured by these magnets, contact and speak with an injury attorney.

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