Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Magnet toy leads to 2-year-old boy's death
By Michelle Esteban
REDMOND, Wash. - A freak accident involving a popular toy has killed a 2-year-old boy and now, Kenny Sweet's parents hope that other parents can learn from their tragedy.
It was Thanksgiving Day when Kenny was rushed to Kirkland's Evergreen Medical Center emergency room with what his mom thought was the stomach flu. But five minutes later, Kenny had died.
"I heard 'code blue' and I was hysterical at that point," Penny Sweet said. "I thought maybe if we all could pray at the same time that we could pull him out, but no amount of prayers or people could save him at that point."
The King County Medical Examiner's report blames his death on a toy. The autopsy found tiny magnets, smaller than the eraser on a pencil, in Kenny's intestine.
The magnets were encased in plastic building blocks toys that Penny's 10-year-old son had been playing with. Penny says some of the magnets fell out, and Kenny apparently found them in the carpet and swallowed them.
"It's very dangerous. Who can police this?" asks Kenny's mother.
Doctors found the magnets in Kenny's small intestine - one at the top and one at the bottom. The magnetic force was so great it connected both ends, twisting his intestine and forcing deadly bacteria into his blood stream.
"It does say there is a choking hazard on here," Penny Sweet said. "Unfortunately, they don't say it causes serious injury or death, which is the kind warning they need to have on here."
Dr. Terry Woodward, Children's Hospital Chief of Emergency Medicine, is not connected with Kenny's case, but he explained what happens when the intestine is twisted: "As it twists farther, you lose blood supply to the intestine. Once you lose blood supply, then it starts to die."
Mega Bloks, based in Montreal, manufactures the toy. It's one in a series called Magnetix.
A spokesperson for the company said that in nearly 70 years in the toy business, this is the first death resulting from one of their toys. The spokesman said the Magnetix toys are still on the shelf, but Mega Bloks is investigating.
With Christmas just days away the Sweets didn't want to wait for the company's findings, they want to warn other parents immediately.
Mega Bloks reported Kenny Sweet's death to The Consumer Product Safety Commission. The commission confirmed for KOMO 4 News it does have an "open investigation."
Mega Bloks says it's up to the commission to decide if the toy should be pulled off toy shelves.
In October, Toy Wishes, a self-described family entertainment guide, named the Magnetix as one of the top 12 toys for Christmas this year.