July 17, 2012 — Battat Inc., an American toy company, has agreed to settle a dispute with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) for $400,000. The CPSC alleges that Battat failed to notify the agency about a known defect with the Magnabild Magnetic Building Sets. Similar to other magnet toys that were being recalled at the time, small magnets could become dislodged from the Magnabild blocks. If a child ingested these magnets, they could cause serious injury. Children have been seriously injured or killed when multiple magnets attached in their intestines, causing life-threatening intestinal blockages or perforations. Many children with these magnet toy injuries require abdominal surgery to remove the magnets.
According to the CPSC, Battat began receiving complaints about the magnet toys in October 2005 — including 16 reports of magnets becoming dislodged from the blocks, and two reports that children had swallowed non-magnetized, round steel balls that were also part of the toy set.
The CPSC did not contact Battat until July 2007, when the agency was in the midst of a massive product recall and educational effort. The recalls began with the Rose Art Magnetic Building Set and expanded to five other products. Millions of toys were recalled. The CPSC also attempted to inform parents about the dangers of magnet toys by publishing a “Magnet Safety Alert.” The CPSC contacted Battat three times, until they responded three months later, in October 2007. Battat failed to notify the CPSC that they also manufactured two other magnet toys that could present a safety hazard.
The CPSC and Battat voluntarily recalled 125,000 Magnabilds in January 2008. Two months later, an additional 7,000 Magnabilds were included in the recall.
There were no injuries associated with the Battat magnet toys.
Under federal law, manufacturers have 24 hours to notify the CPSC when they receive information suggesting a serious safety hazard with a product. This rule helps the CPSC recall dangerous products quickly, before they can cause serious injury or death — especially when the products can injure small children.
As a part of the $400,000 settlement, Battat denies any wrongdoing and asserts that the Magnabild toys did not present a hazard to children.
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