Several parents have claimed the metal hooks caused their kids horrific eye injuries in both Target and Kmart stores.
Victorian mum Jodie Thomas was shopping in a Target store in Ballarat when her then two-year-old daughter Dakota bent down quickly and a metal hook pierced her eye socket, Nine News reported.
“It was so scary and it happened so quickly. It was that sharp that it nearly tore her whole eyelid off, it was just hanging by a thread,” Mrs Thomas told the publication.
The accident has left the now eight year old with a permanent scar.
Another woman also told Nine News her toddler fell on a metal prong that was being used to hold sunglasses and other accessories in October 2017.
TARGET REMOVES HOOKS
A Target spokesperson told news.com.au hooks with a 120-degree bend had been removed from stores after a safety review last year, while others will be reviewed.
The spokesperson said those hooks in particular have a higher risk of injury which is why they decided to remove them from stores.
“With thousands of customers shopping in our stores every day there is always a potential for accidents to take place which is why we put a lot of time into ensuring our stores are safe for our team and our customers,” the spokesperson said.
“In relation to our peg fixtures, following a safety review we removed all hooks with a 120-degree bend — while still commonly used across the retail sector.”
Target is yet to clarify whether it will officially remove the type of hook that injured five-year-old Saad Shahzad at its Westfield Parramatta store in Sydney earlier this month.
The young boy was shopping with his mother and sister when a blouse arm got lodged in his eye socket.
He had seen a shirt on the floor and bent down abruptly to pick it up when his face smashed into the metal clothes rack.
“Target is currently conducting a risk assessment in relation to fixtures used on clothing modules, including old and new style blouse arms,” it said in a statement to news.com.au
KMART’S BIG MOVE
Kmart has too completed a comprehensive review of its pegs in store and are currently rolling out safety improvements to make pegs safer.
It comes after customers had pushed for a review due to injuries.
Last year, Hayley Skye Smith and her 20-month-old Amaia were shopping at Kmart when Amaia leaned reached out to look at some children’s jewellery and the clothing rack from above went into her eye.
“I heard her crying and didn’t know exactly what had happened until Tohri told me. I thought maybe she accidentally walked into the trolley but I was very wrong,” Ms Smith told Kidspot.
Amaia stopped crying and went floppy, and her mum feared the worst.
“We looked at my daughter’s eye and there was just a big blood clot over it and I screamed ‘Oh my god. I don’t want her to be blind’. I was so scared,” she said.
She was taken to hospital and was later released with no permanent damage — but it had left Ms Smith shaken.
A Kmart spokesperson told news.com.au the safety of customers and team members is their number one priority.
“We want families to have a positive experience when visiting us instore and we want them to leave in the same, if not better condition, than when they arrived,” the spokesperson said.
She said with thousands of customers visiting stores every day “there is always a potential for accidents to take place”.
“Which is why we are constantly looking for new ways to improve the safety of our instore environment,” she added.