CPSC Takes Action Against High-Powered Magnets in Lieu of Children Injuries
High-powered magnets marketed as sculptures, puzzles and stress relievers specifically marked “not intended for use by children” have come under intense scrutiny this summer by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Why? Because they pose a risk to children.
Most recently, the agency voted unanimously to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on a Safety Standard for Magnet Sets that will develop new federal standards for small, high-powered magnet sets and determine performance requirements for magnet sets based on their size and strength. Magnet sets that fail to meet the performance requirement would not be allowed to be sold as a manipulative or a desk toy.
Is the agency going too far?
Although labeled not for use by children, the agency states that the high-powered magnets have strong appeal to children and pose a potential risk for severe injuries.
In fact, 1,700 emergency room-treated injuries associated with these high-powered magnets were documented between 2009 and 2011. Seventy percent of those cases involved children between the ages of four and 12.
The issue of intended product use versus unintended product use plays a key role here just as it did in the recent Bumbo International recall of four million baby seats.
While these products may not have been designed with children in mind, they maybe should have been. There are federal guidelines in place requiring manufacturers to consider all potential uses of their products. For this reason, it is essential that companies consider all intended and unintended uses well before releasing a product into the marketplace. Such consideration can prevent time consuming and costly recalls.
Do you agree with the agency’s proposed rulemaking? Should companies be held responsible for injuries resulting from unintended uses of products? Your comments are most welcome below.
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