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3-Year-Old Swallows 37 BuckyBalls Magnets

December 31, 1969

Manufacturers are responsible for making sure their products are safe for consumers. This includes making sure that items with small, easy-to-swallow parts come with a choking hazard warning or a notation that the product is not for use by young children and infants. Another risk that small parts can pose if swallowed is that they can cause serious internal injuries. "Our Anaheim products liability lawyers work with the families of kids seriously hurt or killed because of a product defect" said Howard Law, PC Founder and Orange County, California Personal Injury Attorney Vincent Howard.

Just this week, doctors had to remove 37 magnets from the intestines of a 3-year-old girl in Oregon. After she swallowed the small parts, the 'Buckyballs' magnets found each other in her stomach and joined together to form a circle. Fortunately, Payton Bushnell is expected to make a full recovery.

Buckyballs consist of "rare earth" magnets that are promoted as stress-relieving desk products for adults. The manufacturer has issued a statement on its Web site noting that its products are for adults and come with the warning that they are not for kids.

Unfortunately, Bushnell is not the only child to swallow small magnets. Just last November, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warned about the safety risk that these small items continue to pose not just for toddlers, but also for teens. Swallowing a magnet can be especially dangerous when the person ingests more than one of them. Injuries can include intestinal blockage, small holes in the intestines or stomach, blood poisoning, and death.

Last year, CPSC said it received 14 reports of incidents involving these magnets. This is an increase from 2010 when there were seven reported incidents. Just one incident was reported in 2009. Those involved were kids ranging in age from 18-months to 15-years-old. In 17 of the incidents the magnets were ingested, 11 of the children had to undergo surgery (in such cases, intestine and stomach repair is necessary.)

Since then, the CPSC is reporting at least 33 now cases of child injuries related to magnets, including 19 kids who required surgery and one death. While young kids may swallow the small magnet pieces without realizing that they are placing themselves at risk of injury, with older children, the incidents can be accidental or intentional.

California has a strict product liability law, which means that the manufacturer or distributor of a product can be held liable for any harm that a product's defect causes to a person. A defect can be something that is wrong with the product or a danger resulting from any reasonably foreseeable use or wrong use of the item. Warnings must be included to warn of possible safety issues and with most items, there should also be proper operating instructions.

"Filing an Orange County, California products liability lawsuit allows you to not only hold the responsible parties liable, but also, it can shed light on the defect while potentially preventing other people from getting hurt," said Anaheim Child Injury Attorney Vincent Howard.

Toddler swallows 37 magnets, survives, MSNBC, March 6, 2012

Ingesting magnets can cause serious injuries, agency warns, Los Angeles Times, November 10, 2011

CPSC Warns High-Powered Magnets and Children Make a Deadly Mix, CPSC, November 10, 2011

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Contact Howard Law, PC and ask to speak with Anaheim products liability lawyer Vincent Howard today.