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Magnetic Dart Boards Latest Magnetic Toy Set to Put Kids at Risk

Feb 26, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP

Another magnetic toy set is being recalled over concerns that magnets can come loose, posin a risk of intestinal injuries if a child swallows one.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Family Dollar of Charlotte, North Carolina, announced a voluntary recall of 250,000 FUN ‘N SAFE Magnetic Dart Boards.  The FUN ‘N SAFE Magnetic Dart Boards were made in China and sold exclusively at Family Dollar stores nationwide for the seven-year period from January 2001 through January 2008.  The toys retailed for about $5.

The FUN ‘N SAFE Magnetic Dart Board is about 15 inches wide with a black, white, green, and red bull’s eye checkered design and was sold with six four-inch long magnetic darts. The darts magnetically adhere to the dartboard when thrown. “Made in China” is embossed on the back of the board.

Consumers are alerted to immediately take the recalled toys away from children and return the board and all of the darts to a Family Dollar store for a refund.  For additional information, consumers can contact Family Dollar at (800) 547-0359 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. pacific time Monday through Friday, or visit the Family Dollar Web site at www.familydollar.com

While no injuries have been reported with the FUN ‘N SAFE Magnetic Dart Board, small magnets found at the at the ends of the darts can detach.  Magnets found by young children can be swallowed or aspirated. If more than one magnet is swallowed, the magnets can attract each other and cause intestinal perforations or blockages, which can be fatal.

Last year, the toy industry was besieged following over six million toy recalls, the highest number ever due to product defects; Chinese-made toys accounted for 94% of these recalls.  No surprise given that it’s vastly cheaper to purchase toys from China where the hourly wage for toy manufacturing workers in 2006 was 36 cents, about 2.5% of the U.S. wage.  Although unsafe lead levels were the cause of most recalls, lead was not the only problem.  Toys with small parts and small magnets were recalled as these can pose—among other things—choking hazards.  Many such toys remained on shelves and were sold without warning labels several times last year.   But now, magnets are of concern not just for their choking and aspiration hazards, but for problems with ingestion of multiple magnets can cause deadly injuries that are tricky for even the savviest of doctors to diagnose.  At first glance, physical examination findings can appear minimal; however, swallowing more than one magnet can result in significant complications, including bowel perforation, volvulus (intestinal twisting causing obstruction), ischemia (inadequate blood flow to a part of the body caused by constriction or blockage of the blood vessels), and death.  Experts say that while swallowing one magnet the size of a watch battery is unlikely to cause health problems, swallowing two can be fatal.

A Public Citizen’s report states over 87% of U.S. toys are imported, a huge shift from the 1970s when nearly 90% of U. S. toys were produced domestically.  Many American toy corporations have relocated production overseas and pushed hard for foreign subcontractors to cut costs in an environment where there are less reliable safety measures.  The result has been deadly.


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