Magnetic Balls Sold at Walmart Recalled as Child ‘Ingestion Hazard’

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In a recent development, magnetic ball sets sold online by Walmart are being recalled due to concerns of being an “ingestion hazard” for children.

The Relax 5mm Science Kit, Large Hematite Magnets Magnetic Stones Building Blocks, available exclusively through Walmart’s online platform JoyBuy for approximately $14, do not comply with federal regulations for magnets, as per an alert issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The CPSC noted that these spherical magnets are “stronger than permitted,” and one or more of them can fit within the small parts cylinder specified by the agency, which is roughly the size of a young child’s throat.

When swallowed, these high-powered magnets can attract to each other or other metal objects, posing a serious risk of becoming lodged in the digestive system.

Impact of Ingestion Hazard

The potential consequences of ingesting these magnets are severe and include perforations, twisting and/or blockage of the intestines, infection, blood poisoning, and even death, according to the CPSC’s release.

The colorful magnet set, initially considered a recreational item, is now classified as an “ingestion hazard” by the CPSC, urging immediate action from consumers. Walmart has not yet responded to requests for comments on the matter.

This recall follows a broader trend of concerns regarding the dangers of small, powerful magnets. In October, Tiny Hearts, a child safety organization run by an ex-paramedic, demonstrated the hazards of swallowing these magnets in a video aimed at raising awareness among parents. The organization emphasized the risk associated with these magnets, especially when ingested by children.

While no injuries related to this specific recall have been reported, the CPSC revealed that from 2017 to 2021, emergency rooms treated 2,400 incidents of magnet ingestion, with seven reported deaths linked to such incidents, five of which occurred in the United States.

Consumers are advised to cease using the recalled magnets, keep them away from children, and contact the vendor, Joybuy, for a refund and a shipping label to return the items.

This recall sheds light on the potential dangers posed by seemingly innocuous toys and highlights the need for heightened awareness and safety measures, especially in products targeted at children.

Despite the lack of reported injuries in conjunction with this recall, the broader implications of magnet ingestion have been exemplified in a cautionary tale from September.

A mother in England shared her harrowing experience when her 2-year-old swallowed six magnets, resulting in four burned holes in the small bowel. Emergency surgery was required to remove the magnets, and the child’s survival was described as a “miracle” by the concerned mother.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of vigilance when it comes to child safety, urging parents and caregivers to be mindful of the potential hazards associated with seemingly harmless items.

As the recall progresses, it is expected to prompt a reevaluation of safety standards for magnetic toys, emphasizing the need for stringent regulations to prevent similar incidents in the future.


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