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Boy has part of bowels removed after swallowing magnets

Jul 28, 2006 | AP

The parents of a 3-year-old boy who had part of his intestine removed after he swallowed several magnetic toys want the building set removed from store shelves.

Macguire Butterfield earlier this year swallowed three magnets contained in a Magnetix building block set. They became lodged inside his small intestine, but laxatives helped the child pass the toys.

Within a few weeks, however, the boy developed fevers, more stomach aches and vomiting. Doctors said the magnets were attracted to each other while inside the boy's body and caused damage.

"The magnets lodged in different loops of the bowel, and their attraction to one another squeezed parts of his bowel together cutting off blood flow to a portion of the bowel and killing it," said Lori Butterfield, the child's mother.

The bowel twisting caused an infection that nearly killed him, she said.

Butterfield and her husband, Mike, have filed a complaint against the toy's New Jersey-based distributor, RoseArt Industries.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it has collected reports of 34 incidents involving the toy, including the death of a 20-month-old child who swallowed magnets from the toy.

RoseArt Industries instituted a voluntary recall and replacement program for about 3.8 million of the toys, and says consumers can return the sets to the company for a free replacement product suitable for children younger than 6. The building sets had been marketed to children 3 and older.

Vic Bertrand, chief operating officer for RoseArt's parent company, said in a statement that Magnetix products will remain on store shelves targeted for children of an appropriate age.

"We were deeply saddened to learn of reports of children being harmed by ingesting small parts," Bertrand said. "As the father of four children and as a member of the family that helped build this business, I am personally committed to safe and creative play experiences for children who use our products."

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