Dangerous Magnets Prompt Recall of Hat and Mitten Sets

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Council (CPSC) is announcing that Meijer Incorporated is recalling about 100 of its <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/product_liability">Toddler Girl’s Hat and Mitten Sets, which were manufactured by Aquarius Limited, of St. Louis, Missouri and made in China.  The Toddler Girl’s Hat and Mitten Sets are being recalled because they pose a choking and aspiration hazard to young children.

The CPSC notes that the hats contain magnets, which can detach and fall out; children can swallow the magnets, choking or aspirating on them.  If more than one magnet is swallowed, the magnets can travel throughout the child’s body, attracting each other and causing intestinal and other organ perforations or blockages, which can be fatal.  While no injuries have been reported, Meijer has received one report of a magnet separating from a hat.  

According to the CPSC, the recalled hats and mittens contain two magnets sewn into each side of the hat.  The hats are cotton with pink, lavender, orange, and aqua green stripes and various prints. Some of the hat and mitten sets have dark pink hearts with light pink stripes. “Aquarius LTD” is printed on the tag of the hat and mitten sets.

The Meijer Inc. Toddler Girl’s Hat and Mitten Sets were sold in Meijer stores in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky from August 2008 to October 2008 and retailed for about $12.

The CPSC is advising consumers to immediately take the Meijer Inc. Toddler Girl’s Hat and Mitten Sets away from children and return them to a Meijer store for a refund.  Consumers can also speak to Meijer at (800) 927-8699 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. eastern time on Monday through Friday, can visit the firm’s Website at www.aquariusltd.com, or can email the firm at marka@aquariusltd.com.

Ingesting multiple magnets can cause potentially fatal problems that are difficult to diagnose.  Initial physical exams might not reveal a serious problem; however, swallowing more than one magnet can cause significant complications such as 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.  According to Science Daily, when magnets pass in the body beyond the stomach, they can attract each other through divergent intestinal walls, which is when obstruction can occur and when necrosis—death of cells or tissue—or intestinal perforation can happen.  Science Daily notes that about 20 percent of all swallowing accidents will require surgery.

Last year, the toy industry was besieged following millions of toy recalls, the most ever due to product defects.  Chinese-made toys accounted for 94% of these recalls, reports Public Citizen.  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, said Public Citizen, which also states that over 87% of U.S. toys are imported, a huge shift from the 1970s when nearly 90% of U.S. toys were produced domestically.

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