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Target Tic Tac Toe Game Recall Issued Over Magnet Risks

Nearly 20,000 magnetic tic tac toe games, which were sold exclusively at Target stores, have been recalled due to a risk that the magnetic pieces may fall off the game board and be swallowed by children, posing serious and potentially life-threatening complications if two or more magnetic pieces attract across intestinal walls. 

The Target magnetic tic tac toe game recall was announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on March 29, 2017.

Although no injuries have been reported in relation to the recall, manufacturing or design defects may allow young children or mentally disabled adults to place small magnetic pieces in their mouth. With other magnetic toys, accidentally or intentionally swallowing small pieces have been linked to reports of severe injury and deaths.

When two or more magnetic pieces are swallowed, they can be drawn together inside of the intestines, clamping onto body tissue. In this event, the magnets can cause intestinal obstructions, perforations, sepsis and even death.

The recall includes an estimated 19,000 Target brand magnetic tic tac toe games marked with the model number “234-25-1089”. The game consists of a 10-inch by 10-inch plywood board with nine “X” and Heart” game pieces that have magnets on the back.

The recalled tic tac toe games were manufactured in China under Target Corporation of Minneapolis, Minnesota. They were distributed for sale exclusively at Target stores nationwide from December 2016 through February 2017 for about $5.

Customers are being asked to stop using the recalled magnetic games and to return them to any Target store for a full refund. Customers with additional questions regarding the recall should contact Target at 800-440-0680 or visit them online at www.target.com and navigate to the “Recalls” link at the bottom of the home page.

Toy Magnet Safety Concerns

Federal safety regulators have issued many prior warnings about risks associated with magnetic toys, due to the risks if swallowed.

A CPSC effort to address safety risks with magnetic toys emerged in 2012, when the agency requested 13 manufacturers of magnetic office toys stop sales after at least one death and nearly 3,000 injuries were linked to powerful earth magnets; many of which resulted in emergency room treatments and surgery to remove the magnets from children’s intestines.

Some manufacturers refused the agency’s request, forcing the CPSC to file an administrative complaint for the first time in 11 years, seeking to force the two largest manufacturers to initiate a Buckeyball recall and Zen Magnets recall.

The CPSC announced in September 2014, that it had put new national safety standards in place affecting high-powered magnet sets, which have been sold as desk toys in recent years, featuring a large number of small rare earth magnets that can be manipulated into various shapes.

However, roughly two years later the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued a 2-1 ruling on November 22, 2016, which found that the CPSC banned the small toy magnets without sufficient evidence that they carried a large enough risk to children.

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