Toy manufacturer Mega Brands America has agreed to pay a $1.1 million fine to settle charges that the company failed to follow federal guidelines for reporting the known safety risks posed by its "Magnetix" magnetic building sets.
A U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Press Release details the chronology of the missteps by Mega Brands America Inc. (formerly known as Rose Art Industries Inc.). In December 2005, a 22-month-old Washington child died after ingesting magnets from a Magnetix play set, and Mega Brands America filed only an "initial report" with CPSC, providing no specific (and required) product and incident information.
A "full report" filed in February 2006 also lacked specific information, and the company recalled 4 million Magnetix sets in March 2006.
CPSC later learned that, at the time of the December 2005 "initial report," the company had received more than 1,100 complaints about loose magnets falling out of the Magnetix sets, and had received at least one report of magnet ingestion before the Washington toddler's death occurred.
Under federal law, Mega Brands was required to file a report with CPSC within 24 hours of receiving any information that one of its products had a defect that created a risk of causing serious injury or death, or violated federal consumer product safety rules.
According to the Associated Press, "tiny magnets can fall out of toys and be swallowed or inhaled by children. If more than one magnet is swallowed, they can attach to each other and cause intestinal perforation, infection or blockage."