Small magnets, found in toys like building sets, games, puzzles and even dolls, can kill children if two or more or swallowed. Although magnets have been in toys for many years, manufacturers have recently started using “rare earth” magnets, which are approximately 10 times stronger than traditional magnets. They are able to exert a powerful attraction, even through human tissue.
If two or more magnets are swallowed separately, they can attract each other through intestinal walls. This can trap the magnet in place, causing problems to the body including perforations, twisting or blocking of the intestines, and blood poisoning. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is aware of 33 cases of children being injured from swallowing magnets. There are things you can do to keep your child safe.
Prevent Serious Injuries from Swallowed Magnets
Review our magnet safety tips:
- Do not allow children younger than 6 years old to play with toys that contain small magnets
- Avoid magnetic toys that function as jewelry such as earrings, tongue piercings, etc.
- Keep current on product recalls. Register on at the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website to get all children’s product recalls
- Make sure to look out for loose magnetic pieces; magnets can stick to places such as chair legs or the bottom of the refrigerator where babies have easy access
- Inspect your children’s toys regularly
- Seek immediate medical attention if you think your child has swallowed a magnet
- Watch for suspect symptoms like nausea/vomiting, diarrhea and/or pain, especially if you think magnets may be involved