Sim Osborn, an attorney who has spent a large portion of his career representing the families of children killed or injured by dangerous magnetized toys, today issued a stern warning to parents about serious safety concerns for high-powered magnet desk toys and stress relievers – popular holiday gifts aimed at adults that have been increasingly ingested by children and teens.
Recent media reports stated that there has been a significant increase in reported incidents during the past year involving children and teens swallowing the small but powerful magnetized ball bearings. The magnets pose a serious threat when more than one is ingested because they attract one another and cause a range of serious injuries, including holes through internal organs, blood poisoning and death.
The magnets are small enough to be swallowed by young children who do not know better, but they also have created growing concern for the parents of teenagers, who have reportedly been using the ball bearing to simulate nose, tongue and cheek piercings.
"We want to make families aware of the potential threat posed by this popular holiday gift and help protect them from suffering through unnecessary tragedies," said Osborn. "The fact that teens are using the toys to simulate piercings makes them even more dangerous because it increases the number of kids at risk."
Osborn was instrumental in making the public aware of the dangers of ingested magnets in 2005 when he represented the family of a 22-month-old Redmond, Wash., toddler who died after swallowing magnets that had broken apart from a toy. Within weeks, many more families with similar stories came forward, which helped push the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a voluntary recall for the toys and increase industry standards.
"Through our previous work on personal injury and product liability cases involving magnets, we have already seen the extensive and irrevocable damage that they can cause when swallowed," said Osborn.
The following tips are intended to protect children and teens from the dangers of these toys.