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What would you do if a toy designed for relaxation ended up being the primary source of stress for your family? These tiny marble-sized Walmart magnetic balls became the center of nationwide news after being recalled for posing ingestion hazards.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued the decision following over 2,000 reports of hospitalization, with seven cases ending in fatalities. The small magnetic balls Walmart sells for $14 to $15 were in circulation from February 2022 to April 2023.
Upon further investigation, the CPSC discovered that the toys, known as the Relax 5mm Science Kit, contain magnet pieces that do not meet federal standards. The magnets fit CPSC’s classifications for choking hazards and were stronger than permitted.
Does Walmart Sell Magnetic Balls?
The magnetic balls in question were marketed at Walmart under the complete name “Relax 5mm Science Kit, Large Hematite Magnets Magnetic Stones Building Blocks.” The set contains 216 pieces of 5-mm multi-colored magnetic balls sold in boxes.
While there are other variations sold in other retail stores, Walmart obtained their Relax Magnetic Balls directly from Joybuy. The CPSC estimates that there are over 4,200 units currently in circulation across the United States.
Why Did The CPSC Ban The Walmart Magnetic Balls?
The CPSC regulates virtually every product sold on the US market to protect consumers from serious injury or death. This includes products designed for children under the age of 3. The CPSC uses a small parts cylinder to determine whether or not a product poses an ingestion hazard.
The small parts cylinder approximates the size of a child’s fully-expanded throat. Any toy, game accessory, or another article that fits within this cylinder is considered dangerous. Therefore, manufacturers must include a choking hazard warning on the box. Similarly, the CPSC or the product’s retailer may also pull it off shelves, as is the case with the magnetic balls at Walmart.
The Dangers Of Ingesting Walmart Magnetic Balls
Aside from the choking hazard, these magnetic balls attract each other, which can put children at significant risk of severe internal injuries when ingested. If the balls get lodged in the digestive system, the victim may suffer from:
- Perforations or tears caused by the metal balls piercing through the inner organ lining
- Blockage of intestines
- Blood poisoning
It’s essential to bring the victim to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. Learning how to apply first aid may also help avoid hospitalization and severe injuries.
What Should Parents Do If Their Child Is Choking?
Choking incidents involving children can be nerve-wracking. As a parent, you must stay calm and follow the steps below on what to do during and after the incident.
First-Aid During The Incident
The first step is to call 911 and wait for the paramedics. While waiting, you may apply first-aid, depending on the current condition of your child.
If your child:
- Can talk but has trouble breathing – Encourage the child to cough the object out.
- Can’t talk but is conscious – Stand behind your child and wrap your arms around the waist. Make a fist with one hand and slide it inward and upward from the child’s belly.
- Falls unconscious – Lay the child on his/her back and start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Next Steps After The Incident
Upon determining that your child is safe, it’s helpful to know what steps to take following the incident. Here are some things you can do:
- Aftercare – Visit a specialist for a general checkup. You need to ensure that the ingested magnets did not cause any injuries to your child’s throat and digestive tract.
- Ask for a refund – Call the manufacturer or retailer and ask for a refund. In Walmart’s case, Joybuy is notifying all purchasers and providing full refunds.
- Call a lawyer – You may pursue the case further by calling product liability injury lawyers. You could be entitled to compensation if we prove that Walmart or the manufacturer is responsible for the injuries.
What Constitutes A Product Liability Case?
Product liability attorneys don’t have to prove the defendant’s negligence in these types of cases. Instead, they just need to prove that one of the following elements is present:
A Design Flaw
A design flaw means the product is still dangerous even if it’s manufactured and used correctly. In the case of the magnetic balls at Walmart, the product failed to meet CPSC’s federal safety standards. That is to say, it was flawed from the beginning.
A product injury lawyer may also turn to manufacturing errors to establish the defendant’s liability. For instance, the manufacturer fails to attach the brakes to a bike properly, leading to severe injuries.
Some products may not be inherently dangerous, but improper use could lead to severe injuries. Manufacturers also bear the responsibility to warn users of risks that may not be apparent to the average person. For example, if the magnetic balls Walmart sells do not include a choking hazard warning, the manufacturer, and possibly Walmart, is liable for injuries.
Walmart’s Product Liability History
Despite being the largest retail chain in the United States, Walmart is not without flaws. While many US consumers recognize it as the most affordable retail store, some pay a great price for its products.
Over the years, Walmart has faced numerous lawsuits and claims for defective or poorly designed items that can lead to injuries. Here’s a quick history of Walmart’s product liability cases.
The DEA-DOJ v. Walmart Inc. was one of Walmart’s biggest settlements, amounting to $3.1 billion. The jury ruled in favor of the Department of Justice after Walmart continued to sell opioids to consumers, breaking several prohibition laws.
On December 29, 2020, a woman from Branson filed a lawsuit against Walmart after suffering cuts, bruises, a broken nose, and a traumatic brain injury. The woman claims that the poor assembly of the tricycle caused her brakes to stop working.
Defective Pressure Cooker
In Ohio, Jaylon Reed and Sky Williams filed a product liability lawsuit against Walmart on May 4, 2023. The couple purchased a 7-in-1 Farberware pressure cooker, which unexpectedly exploded after sitting in the kitchen for an hour. Williams suffered second- and third-degree burns all over her body because of the incident.
Exploding Gas Cans
In December 2013, Walmart was named as the defendant in 24 of the 80 lawsuits against Blitz USA. The manufacturer, Blitz, was allegedly selling defective gas cans that could explode and lead to serious injuries. Walmart, the distributor, allegedly sold the products despite knowing these defects.
Other Types Of Accidents In Walmart
Aside from injuries caused by defective products like the Walmart magnetic balls, the retail giant continuously faces other types of lawsuits due to other accidents.
Walmart slip-and-fall accidents are commonly the result of wet floors, unsecured tiles, debris along the aisles, cracked pavement in the parking lot, and many more. Walmart has a duty of care to keep you safe on its premises. If Walmart’s negligence causes a slip-and-fall accident, you may be able to sue for personal injury.
Assault On Its Premises
Walmart may also be held liable for assaults that occur on their premises. One of our esteemed personal injury lawyers, Brian Beecher, Esq., helped an assault victim secure almost $50 million in a recent case. Walmart was found liable for leaving unsecured baseball bats on the shelves. A homeless man grabbed one of these bats and attacked a couple shopping nearby. Walmart was found 50% responsible for the attack, and that resulted in a judgment of more than $30 million against the company.
Injuries caused by falling merchandise at Walmart may also be grounds for a claim under premises liability law. The law doesn’t define what safe stocking practices are. However, most courts have ruled that accidents of this type, including other customers’ conduct, are foreseeable.
Want To Hold Walmart Responsible For Harmful And Defective Items? Call Arash Law Today
Our government has established several laws to protect consumers from hazardous products. It is your right to receive compensation for injuries caused by these merchandise. If you or your child suffered injuries from Walmart’s magnetic balls or other products, call Arash Law at (888) 488-1391 now.
Our compassionate attorneys, product liability experts, and personal injury specialists will fight for the compensation you deserve. Arash Law, led by Arash Khorsandi Esq., has won over $500 Million for victims, sometimes against giants like Walmart. We stand with the victims until the very end.