According to CNN, Mattel just widened its recall of its popular Polly Pocket toys that almost killed an Indiana girl almost two years ago. So what took you so long Mattel?
Two years ago Paige Kostrzewski was only 7 years old in July of 2005. Paige was innocently playing with her new Polly Pocket toy, whose plastic clothes attached to the Polly Pocket doll with magnets. While Paige was busy attaching clothes to the doll a couple of the magnets came loose and so she held the two loose magnets between her lips. Two days later, Paige began to complain of tummy pain that was at first written off as a stomach flu. It was only later, after Paige was vomiting green stuff, that Paige’s parents learned from a scan done at the hospital that Paige had accidentally swallowed the two magnets which had become lodged in her small bowel causing holes to form in her tissue that allowed bacteria from her bile to circulate throughout her little body causing a massive infection.
While Mattel voluntarily recalled many of the Polly Pocket products last November Paige’s parents wonder why it took so long. They will not soon forget the $40,000 medical bill or the fact that doctors told them Paige would have died within days if the magnets had not been discovered.
According to Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director for the non-profit United States Federation of Public Interest Research Groups, Mattel should have had better safeguards in place.
The Federation has a great brochure that gives tips to parents about what to look for in an unsafe toy. One prominently featured warning regards magnets. The warning indicates that parents should be careful of toys that have magnets, especially where two or more are present as if they are swallowed and attach to one another ‘life-threatening’ situations may occur. Of course, you don’t have to tell Paige’s parents that. Unfortunately, they already know!
Personally, I am very disappointed in Mattel. They make a huge profit each year from selling toys for children. They have a duty and responsibility to those children to make the toys safe. Mattel knows children put toys and everything else they can get their hands on into their mouths. They know if a toy or a part is small enough, some of those children will shallow those toys or parts. Where are their “human factors” experts? They seem to always have “human factors” experts available in lawsuits, how about deploying them in the product design phase rather than the defense of claims after a child has been injured?
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