About 1.9 million Yeti brand coolers and soft gear cases were recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Thursday because various products’ magnet closures could detach and cause serious injury.
The recall includes the Yeti Coolers Hopper M30 Soft Cooler 1.0 and 2.0, Hopper M20 Soft Backpack Cooler and SideKick Dry Gear Case, a smaller sealed bag that protects items from water damage. The recalled products were sold between March 2018 and January 2023, including nearly 41,000 products in Canada, through retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Ace Hardware and online through Yeti and Amazon.
Yeti said in a statement that it was cooperating with the agency and voluntarily recalling the products.
The commission urged consumers to stop using the products immediately, after receiving nearly 1,400 reports of the magnet-lined closures failing, falling off or going missing. No magnet ingestions or injuries from Yeti products have been reported.
If two or more of the magnets are swallowed, the agency said, they can attract to one another or a separate metal object in the body and can become lodged in the digestive system. Such attachments can cause perforations, twisting or blockage of the intestines, infection or blood poisoning and can potentially lead to death.
Cases of magnet ingestions in children and teenagers have been rising since 2018, the safety commission said. From 2010 through 2021, the agency estimated, hospital emergency rooms treated 26,600 cases of magnet ingestions. At least seven deaths, including two outside of the United States, have been recorded.
A study last February by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy and Emergency Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital as well as 24 other children’s hospitals in the United States found that more than half of children treated for magnet-related injuries require hospitalization.
In September, the commission tightened federal safety standards to require that loose or separable magnets in certain products had to be either too large to swallow or weak enough to reduce the risk of internal injuries if ingested.
Yeti coolers have become a staple for many people as numerous at-home tests have said the products are among the best for durability and keeping items cold for long periods of time.
The brand debuted in 2006 after Roy and Ryan Seiders, brothers from Texas, created a cooler that could endure the wear and tear fishermen put on the products. The brand rose in popularity in 2014 after introducing its lower-priced drinkware items and backpack coolers, expanding its consumer base beyond outdoors enthusiasts.
The brothers used the same rotomolding process (short for rotational molding and involving resin and an oven) that is used to manufacture kayaks. Instead of focusing on keeping prices down, however, they prioritized making the sturdiest cooler possible. Prices for Yeti coolers range from $80 for a lunch bag to around $200 for a small cooler and up to $1,500 for their largest model.
Customers affected by the recall should contact Yeti to receive a full refund in the form of a gift card or replacement product, the company said. After customers fill out a form through the company’s website, Yeti will send them a prepaid shipping label and packaging to return the product.