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Diatribe: In Defense Of Buckyballs.


Children of the Seventies might remember Klik Klaks.  It was a simple toy featuring a small ring with two cords of approximately ten inches in length that each had a solid, somewhat heavy acrylic or plastic ball, at its end.  They were fun!  You could really get them going, bouncing off one another, and make the loudest racket a parent ever heard.  I wanted one really badly but my parents wouldn’t let me have one until I was “older”.  I finally got my Klik Klak and quickly learned that, not only were they a lot of fun and a great way to release some energy, they could be quite painful.  After several bruises on my arms and one particularly gruesome shot to the face, I lost my Klik Klak privileges.

Toys should be age-appropriate and, more importantly, play should be supervised.  While the government has since become more involved in the safety standards of children’s toys, the responsibility for the youngsters’ safety must belong to the parents.

Some things are not meant to be played with.  Buckyball Magnets, for example, were never intended to be used by children.  I love my Buckyballs … they’re fascinating.  Touted as “The World’s Best Selling Desktoy”, the addictive magnetic balls grew to be quite popular among the conference-call set and were on their way to replacing “doodling” as the most non-productive workplace pastime when the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently filed a lawsuit to halt the production and sale of the magnets, citing several injuries to children that swallowed the small magnetic balls.  )Buckyballs Magnets were never intended to be used as a toy and were packaged with an appropriate warning.)

Hopefully, this is just another in a serious of frivolous lawsuits that will quietly die a quick death.  The little magnets are no more dangerous than pebbles in the playground or shells at the beach.  If parents that can’t keep magnets out of their kids’ mouths are up in arms over Buckyballs, they shouldn’t be allowed to have knives in their kitchens, own dogs that might bite, take baths in tubs filled with water or go outdoors.  Children need to be supervised more than desktoys need to be banned.

We can’t ban everything that fits into the mouth of a child and we shouldn’t ban Buckyballs Magnets.

Kids are kids and sometimes they get hurt.  The Children of the Seventies got burned by Shrinky Dinks, chewed the eyeballs off their stuffed bears and stabbed themselves with the pegs from their Lite-Brites and lived to play another day.

Have you ever been injured by a toy?

UPDATE: 11/02/12 – Magnetic Buckyballs Toys Discontinued!

UPDATE: 01/05/12 – Federal Regulators Suing Buckyballs Founder In Rare Product Recall Case.

UPDATE: 05/12/14 – Consumer Product Safety Commission announces voluntary recall of all Buckyballs and Buckycubes high-powered magnets.

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Copyright © 2012

From → Diatribes

  1. i still have the superball from my youth, and i do remember klik klaks. I had an off-brand. i don’t remember being injured using anything but my bike, so i can’t have been badly hurt playing with toys.

    i’ve heard the bucky ball look-alikes are sometimes not labeled clearly, and, of course, there are folks who have toys they’ve long since forgotten the warnings from. Also, older kids sometimes leave things where younger kids who shouldn’t be playing with them can get to them. i think the issue here is the horrible damage done by this “toy” when the little ones do get to them. One could say the same thing about screwdrivers, nuts & bolts, and electrical outlets. Everything looks like a toy to little ones, and they will put things in their mouths. not much you can do except keep close watch. very close watch.

    i’m not sure why the magnet makers are being blamed. how are they considered at fault?


  2. I smashed my fingers many times with my Klik Klak but I still loved it. My husband has buckyballs and he loves them. And he hasn’t swallowed any yet, which is nice.


  3. justajeepguy permalink

    I remember them being recalled because they could shatter.

    I had just bought the new TIDE PODS (I like them but if they break or get wet, they ruin the entire container) and my mom said there was a big news story on how kids were eating them thinking they were candy. I said to her that the package is clearly marked and that maybe we’re making a mistake not letting all these dumb asses suffer the consequences of their stupidity – parents and children alike. I’m afraid that circumventing the “survival of the fittest” is damaging the future of the human race. (said with mostly sarcasm and just a bit of truth)


    • Hahaha. There’s a similar comment about “natural selection” at Accidents certainly happen, but parents must take responsibility for the safety of their children. It’s kinda their job, right?


  4. I managed to staple myself in the hand when I was 4. For no particular reason, I was just messing around. My mom was out doing errands and only my dad was home (not paying attention, clearly). I was was so scared to tell him, I waited with a staple in my hand until my mom got back! Kids will manage to hurt themselves no matter what, it’s the parents’ job to watch out.


  5. I have a permanent scar on my eyebrow because my brother threw a little matchbox car at me when I was a kid.

    At least now I get to say “I received this scar when I was a kid because I was hit by a car.” It sounds so much more dramatic that way.


  6. Drew – paradigm shifting is a wonderful thing!


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