Tiny terror: US regulator warns against Doraemon toy magnets after seven deaths
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a stern warning urging parents and caregivers to immediately stop using certain Doraemon magnetic ball sets, citing their potential danger and association with seven child deaths across the globe, including two outside the United States.
What are the dangers?
The sets in question, sold online and in some brick-and-mortar stores, contain small, powerful magnets that can be easily swallowed by young children. If multiple magnets are ingested, they can attract each other inside the body, causing serious and potentially fatal internal injuries. These injuries often require invasive surgery and can lead to complications like bowel perforations, infections, and even blood clots.
Tragic Toll and Urgent Action:
The CPSC’s warning comes after it became aware of seven child deaths linked to these toy magnets, highlighting the tragic consequences of seemingly harmless playthings. In response, the agency has issued a notice of violation to the Chinese seller of the magnets, Doraemon Dovfun Suit Magnetic Ball Sets, demanding a recall of the product. However, the seller has not yet complied.
Identifying the Risky Toys:
The specific sets under concern are encased in a clear-plastic case within a portable tin storage box and typically feature characters from the popular Japanese manga and anime series Doraemon. Parents and caregivers are urged to check their homes for these sets and immediately remove them from children’s reach.
Beyond Doraemon: A Broader Concern:
While the CPSC’s warning focuses on the Doraemon sets, it highlights a broader concern about the potential dangers of all high-powered magnetic toys. The CPSC estimates that between 2017 and 2021, there were around 2,400 magnet ingestion incidents treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments alone.
Protecting Our Children:
- To keep children safe, the CPSC recommends keeping all high-powered magnets out of reach of young children. Store them in a locked cabinet or on a high shelf and supervise children closely when playing with any magnetic toys. Additionally, the CPSC urges parents and caregivers to:
- Be aware of the warning signs of magnet ingestion, such as abdominal pain, vomiting, and blood in the stool.
- Seek immediate medical attention if they suspect a child has swallowed a magnet.
Working Together for Safety:
The CPSC’s warning serves as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance and caution when it comes to children’s toys. By working together, parents, caregivers, and regulatory bodies can help prevent further tragedies and ensure that playtime remains a time of joy, not danger.