The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced that Mega Brands America Inc. will pay a $1.1 million civil penalty to settle allegations that the company failed to inform the government about the dangers posed by its Magnetix building sets.
The defective toys were the subject of a recall in 2006 after a 22-month-old child died after swallowing tiny magnets that had come loose and fallen out of the toy. The first indication that Kenny Sweet’s parents had that Kenny was sick was flu like symptoms. and shallow breathing. When he was taken to the hospital, his condition rapidly deteriorated, and he suffered a cardiac arrest. His left lung collapsed, and Kenny died soon after. His parents asked for an autopsy to find out what had happened to their precious little boy. The report arrived the next day, and the results were shocking. The coroner had found eight small magnets in Kenny’s intestine. When Kenny’s horrified parents who suspected that the magnets could only have come from the Magnetix toys, checked the toy, they found several magnets missing.
In 2005, Mega Brands which was then known as Rose Art Inc reported Kenny’s death to the CPSC. However, the company failed to provide any information about how the tragedy had occurred, and instead, claimed that the magnets probably fell out because of aggressive use of the toy. On February 1st 2006, the company again submitted a full report which did not mention any complaints it had received of the loose magnets falling out of the toy. In March, the company recalled close to 4 million units of the toy. The CPSC later discovered that when Rose Art had first reported Kenny’s death in December 2005, it has already receive more than 1,100 complains of magnets falling out of several magnetic toy models. These complaints had included at least one report of a child being injured after swallowing the magnet. By the time the company acted to recall the toys, the number of complaints had grown to more than 1,500 across 65 different models.
In April of 2007, the recall was expanded to include all magnetic sets, after more than 25 children had to be rushed to hospital emergency rooms with intestinal injuries from the ingested magnets. Several of these children required surgery to treat the intestinal perforations that had occurred.
Under law, Mega Brands should have reported to the CPSC within 24 hours of receiving information that indicated that there was a defect in the toy that could pose a danger of injury or death. Rose Art failed to do so, and as a consequence, several children suffered intestinal injuries. According to the CPSC, there are possibly millions of the recalled building sets still in existence in homes across the county.Product liability lawyers are encouraging Georgia parents who still have the building sets in their homes to get rid of these.
The Magnetix defective toys were just one among several defective toys and children’s products that have flooded the market since then. From toxic paints in children’s toys that expose children to lead poisoning to ingestible magnets, drawstrings that can choke a child as well as children’s products like defective cribs that can lead to suffocation and high chairs that are prone to seatback collapses, it’s gotten to the point where parents simply can’t take the safety of the product or toy that their child uses for granted.
If you have questions about your rights after injuries caused by a defective children’s product, the lawyers at the Katz Law Firm can answer your queries. Contact a product liability lawyer at the Katz Law Firm for a free consultation.