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Magnetic toys recalled after injuries

Apr 19, 2007 | AP

A recall of Magnetix building sets has been expanded after more children swallowed the tiny magnets in them and were seriously injured, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced.

In March 2006 Mega Brands Inc. recalled 3.8 million of the magnetic building sets when one child died and four others were seriously injured after they swallowed the magnets. In total, the CPSC and Mega Brands know of the one death, one aspiration and 27 intestinal injuries. All but one of the cases required emergency surgery.

The expanded recall includes all sets except Magnetix sets sold since March 31, 2006, that are age-labeled "6+" and have the following caution label: "CAUTION: Do not ingest or inhale magnets. Attraction of magnets in the body may cause serious injury and require immediate medical care."

The newer sets better retain magnets because of material and design changes, according to Mega Brands.

The commission received reports of at least 1,500 incidents in which the small magnets separated from the toy.

If more than one magnet is swallowed, they can attach to each other and cause intestinal perforation, infection or blockage, which can be fatal. While the hazard was thought to be a problem for children younger than 6, at least 10 injuries involved children between the ages of 6 and 11.

Mega Brands spokesman Alex Radmanovich said the company is not going to quibble with consumers over whether they bought the product within the recall period.

"If you've got this product in the home and you feel uncomfortable, please call us," he said.

CPSC said that the expanded recall includes an additional 4 million sets, making a total of about 7.8 million. Radmanovich, however, says even with the expanded recall the total number of sets covered is about 4 million.

Toy and arts and crafts stores nationwide sold the sets. Consumers should contact Mega Brands for a replacement toy. For more information, call Mega Brands at 800-779-7122.

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