It began with an investigation into the 'Magnetix' toy line last fall. That's when a Redmond toddler died after swallowing several tiny magnets. Our investigation helped prompt a nationwide recall of nearly 4 million Magnetix toys.
Now, we've learned of more than 460 incidents involving magnets that have been reported to the feds.
The documents from the Consumer Product Safety Commission are telling. Since 2000, there have been countless reports of children swallowing magnets. The magnets came from jewelry, magnetic refrigerator letters, and toys -- not just Magnetix Buildings Sets.
Eight months ago, Redmond's Kenny Sweet died after swallowing tiny magnets that fell out of his older brother's Magnetix Building Set. No one knew why Kenny died until the autopsy showed the magnets twisted his small intestine -- pinched it shut -- and tore a hole in his intestinal wall.
We took our investigation to the federal Consumer Products Safety Commission. They insisted Rose Art, the Magnetix toymaker, recall nearly 4-million sets while the feds investigate.
When Kenny died, the CPSC told KOMO 4 News it had found 34 incidents involving Magnetix. Some of the incidents were just complaints about the magnets coming loose.
Now, over a 6 year period, we count 86 complaints about Magnetic toy building sets -- most reported in the months following Kenny Sweet's death. Those close to the investigation say the majority or more than half involved Magnetix.
We knew of only four children hurt by Magnetix toys - three in our state, and one in California. The fed's incident reports list 24 children who needed medical treatment after playing with magnetic building sets, including six children from Washington who swallowed Magnetix magnets.
"They're starting to realize young children and parents are vulnerable with their product," says Penny Sweet, Kenny's mother.
And, we've also discovered a total of 468 complaints about magnetic products nationwide -- nearly half involved toys.
The incidents are not limited to Magnetix. Other toymakers had problems too. The CPSC did not name those toymakers.
Magnetix has always insisted its toys are safe and continually remind me that the recall was a joint agreement between the company and the feds. The toymaker insist it meets all toy standards.