Magnetic toy sets linked to fatalities, CPSC issues safety alert

In a critical safety alert, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a stern warning against the use of high-powered magnetic-ball toy sets. These products have been implicated in seven fatalities and approximately 2,400 emergency hospital admissions from 2017 to 2021.

Magnetic toy sets linked to fatalities, CPSC issues safety alert

These magnetic toys, particularly prevalent among six children’s products failing to meet U.S. safety standards, pose a severe risk if ingested. The magnets, small enough to be swallowed by children, can cause internal injuries, including perforations and blockages in the intestines, infections, blood poisoning, and in extreme cases, death.

One of the key companies involved, Xpressgoods based in Raleigh, North Carolina, has consented to recall around 728 units of these magnetic ball sets, manufactured in China. Consumers are encouraged to return these products for a full refund or store credit. However, other manufacturers, predominantly from China and South Korea, have not yet agreed to any recall, leaving consumers without a direct remedy.

The CPSC’s challenge extends beyond U.S. borders, as many of these products are sold through international online retailers like Amazon and Walmart. Nancy Cowles, the executive director of the advocacy group Kids in Danger and a member of several voluntary standard committees, notes the difficulty in regulating these foreign-produced toys.

The CPSC can remove online listings, but its jurisdiction does not extend to mandating recalls by overseas companies. This situation underscores the ongoing struggle to ensure child safety against hazardous toys, particularly those infiltrating the market from abroad. Consumers are advised to exercise extreme caution and avoid purchasing these dangerous magnetic toys.