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Warning: Magnetic toys are still a problem for children

If you have been following the news, you may have heard that federal consumer safety officials have filed a second complaint in attempt to make Zen Magnets remove a potentially dangerous product from the market. Parents may recognize the product as a magnetic toy made up of tiny but powerful magnetic pieces that can be molded into various shapes. The toy is intended for adult usage; however, it holds significant dangers for young children who play with them, which brings forward the topic of products liability.

Every Florida parent knows that small children tend to put small objects in their mouth, which is why toys intended for their use are often without small parts. However, teenagers are also at risk with these magnet toys as they are inclined to put them in their tongue, lip and cheek to mimic facial piercings. As a result, the product can be accidentally inhaled or swallowed. When these magnets are swallowed, they can pinch tissues and cause internal infections and even death.

The company claims that their product has not caused any injuries, although the Consumer Product Safety Commission has recorded at least a dozen instances of children swallowing small magnets since 2009. In several cases, surgery was needed to prevent or repair damage done by the magnets. Zen Magnets intends to fight the complaints. The company claims their product is not intended as a toy and contains appropriate safety labeling.

The outcome of the complaints against Zen Magnets remains to be seen, but parents who suspect that their children may have suffered a product related injury may be entitled to seek compensation based on allegations of negligence.

Source: The Washington Post, "Consumer safety agency sues to take more adult magnet toys off market as hazard to children," Aug 7, 2012

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