Fatal Magnetic Toys Bring $400,000 Fine
The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) has fined Battat Inc. $400,000 for knowingly selling potentially fatal children’s toys.
About Battat’s Malfunctioning, Magnetic Toy Set
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the children’s toy set, Magnabild, is a building set composed of many small magnetic pieces designed for children 3 and up. The hazard lies in the faulty-magnetic pieces. The small magnets inside the building pieces can fall out, and if found by young children, can be swallowed or inhaled. If a child swallows more than one of these magnetic pieces, the pieces can actually move together inside the child’s digestive tract, and cause intestinal perforations or blockages, which can be fatal.
About the Civil Penalty on Battat Inc.
Battat received its first report of the Magnabild toy set coming apart in October of 2005. When the CPSC contacted Battat in October of 2007, the firm had since received 16 reports of the magnetic building pieces falling out, and 2 reports of children ingesting steel balls from the Magnabild set. Furthermore, one of Battat’s other products, the Rose Art Magnetix Building Set, was recalled in March of 2006 after there was one death, four serious injuries, and 34 incidents involving small magnets.
In addition, the CPSC claims that Battat knew of the potential risks associated with the Magnabild pieces falling off, and did not immediately report the problem to the CPSC, as required by law. Battat was repeatedly told by CPSC staff members of the possibility of the magnetic pieces causing intestinal injuries in April and March of 2006. Over one year later in October of 2007, Battat reported to CPSC, but did not include in the report two additional models that were potentially dangerous as well.
Federal Law and the Duties of Businesses
- Federal law requires businesses to report to CPSC within 24 hours after obtaining information that reasonably supports the conclusion that a product contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard, or ban enforced by CPSC.
- Although Battat agreed to the settlement, Battat denies that CPSC staff members warned Battat of Battat’s dangerous product- i.e. that its Magnabild toys could create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death or contained a defect that could create a substantial product hazard or that Battat violated the reporting requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act.
- The CPSC must, however, take into account the size of the business when deciding how much to fine. In this instance, Battat Inc. is a small business according to the Small Business Administration guidelines.
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