WASHINGTON -- A recall of Magnetix building sets has been expanded after more children swallowed the tiny magnets in them and were seriously injured, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced yesterday.
In March 2006, Mega Brands Inc. recalled 3.8 million of the building sets when one child died and four others were seriously injured after they swallowed the magnets. The commission and Mega Brands know of the one death, one aspiration, and 27 intestinal injuries. All but one of the cases required emergency surgery.
The expanded recall includes all sets except Magnetix sets sold since March 31, 2006, that are labeled for ages "6+" and read, "CAUTION: Do not ingest or inhale magnets. Attraction of magnets in the body may cause serious injury and require immediate medical care."
The newer sets retain magnets better because of material and design changes, according to Mega Brands.
The commission received reports of at least 1,500 cases in which the small magnets separated from the toy.
If more than one magnet is swallowed, they can attach to one another and cause intestinal perforation, infection, or blockage, which can be fatal. While the hazard was thought to be a problem for children younger than 6, at least 10 injuries involved children ages 6 to 11.
Mega Brands spokesman Alex Radmanovich said the company is not going to quibble with consumers over whether they bought the product within the recall period.
"If you've got this product in the home and you feel uncomfortable, please call us," he said.
Consumers should contact Mega Brands for a replacement toy. For more information, call Mega Brands at 800-779-7122.