Target Magnetic Toy Set Recall Issued for Dangerous Game Pieces Included with “Cars” Backpacks

Target has issued a magnetic toy set recall for 110,000 game pieces included with some backpacks sold by the discount store chain. The magnets have a tendency to come loose, and could be hazardous if swallowed by young children. The recall, which was announced yesterday by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), includes game pieces that accompanied backpacks featuring characters from the movie “Cars.”

This is not the first recall the CPSC has announced for <"">magnetic toy sets, which can cause serious injuries to children if ingested. If a child swallows more than one of the powerful magnets, they can become attracted to each other in the intestinal tract. This can cause the intestines to twist, and can lead to bowel obstructions, intestinal perforations and other serious injuries.

In 2006, the CPSC issued a recall of popular Magnetix magnetic toy sets after it had received 34 reports of injuries related to the toy. One of them involved a 20-month old child who died as the result of an intestinal blockage. In April 2007, the CPSC expanded the recall to include all Magnetix sets sold before March 2006. By then, injury reports had reached 1,500. Then in August 2007, Mattel Inc. issued additional recalls for millions of magnetic toy sets. According to the CPSC recall notice, Mattel had received more than 400 reports of magnets coming out of the recalled toys, although there were no injury reports regarding the defective Mattel magnetic toy sets.

The Target magnetic toy set recall includes four magnetic game pieces that were sold with the red and gray “Cars” backpacks. The game pieces included a red plastic car; a blue plastic car; and two red and black plastic disks that have “GAS,” “OIL” and “SERVICE” printed in red letters on the black perimeter of the disks. “Warning: Choking Hazard-Small Parts. Not for children under 3 years” is printed on the backpack hangtag. “Disney Presents a PIXAR film” is printed on the gray vinyl front of the backpack. According to the CPSC, the magnets can fall out of their plastic enclosures, and could then be swallowed by small children. So far, the CPSC has received three reports of the magnets coming loose, but no reports of any injuries.

The vinyl “Cars” backpacks were sold for about $13 at Target stores nationwide between February and September 2007. The backpack itself has not been recalled, so consumers are being told to return only the magnetic toys. In return, consumers will be given a “Cars” wallet or an item of similar value. Customers who prefer to return both the magnetic toy sets and the backpack may do so as well. They will receive a Target gift card equal to the price of the backpack and sales tax. Target also said it would waive its normal 90-day return policy for customers who purchased the defective magnetic toy sets.

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