It all started with the Slaughter family in Thornaby, Middlesbrough, England watching the telly. Resting on top of storage unit in their living room was a Spider-Man costume bought from their local Asda (a British-based, American owned chain of supermarkets) for 4-year old Stephen Slaughter to wear on World Book Day at his nursery school. The £12.50 ($18.56) costume had a unique feature in that it came with a detachable chest plate that would light-up and flash.
Little did the Slaughter family suspect this battery-operated chest piece was apparently a literal bomb. Because while the family’s attention was focused on the TV, the chest piece exploded and, according to Stephen’s father, Steve, “flew 15 feet across the room.”
Steve Slaughter, a 57-year old taxi driver, told the British tabloids, the Gazette Live and the Mirror, he was thankful his son wasn’t wearing the costume at the time, as he described what happened:
“I heard this crack and I thought something had come through the window.
“The box literally flew across the floor with a huge force and landed at my feet.
“When I looked to see what happened I found the bottom part of the batteries had been blown away.
“I’m not a scientist and I don’t know much about batteries but this thing is potentially lethal.”
After Stephen’s mom, Gillian, 44, made repeated attempts to return the costume, Asda finally decided to issue a recall, complete with a full refund. As according to their official press release:
“The wrong batteries have been included inside the costume’s removable light-up unit resulting in a potential safety issue.
“The care and safety of our customers is our number one priority, which is why we have taken the precautionary decision to recall the product based on the outcome of our investigation.
“This affects Spiderman Light-Up Dress-Up costumes age 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10, 11/12 and 13/14 years. No other items in our range are affected.
“We are truly sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.”