Three children who reportedly swallowed tiny magnets that fell off toys had to be operated upon. Following these incidents, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has ordered a major recall of 4.4 million Polly Pocket magnetic play sets made by Mattel,a toy manufacturer. They have also circulated alerts. These urge shoppers to avoid buying toy sets with small magnets for children under six.
So far, the company has reportedly sold around two million sets starting from May 2003 to September 2006, excluding the number recalled from the shelves. Sara Rosales, the vice president of communications for Mattel said, 'The company is making great efforts to make appropriate revisions to the U.S. toy standard to prevent such issues in the future.'
The Polly Pocket play sets comprises of plastic dolls and related accessories in which small magnets about 1/8 inch thick are embedded in parts of the dolls, their plastic clothing, hair and other accessories like shoes and stocking that cling to the dolls.
These tiny magnets easily fall out. If swallowed by children, it can lead to serious conditions like intestinal perforation or blockage. Without timely intervention, even death may result.
While buying toys, buyers must read the toy labels. Toys selected must be according to the age of the child who receives the gift. In addition, buyers must avoid playthings with sharp edges and small parts.