Magnets are a common feature in some toys. Magnets with a high magnetic strength and which are small enough to be swallowed are a hazard.
Any toy that includes a hazardous magnet or magnetic component must contain:
- a warning about the hazards
- an age grading for the product.
This must be prominent on the packaging and in the instruction booklet.
What are the hazards?
Any products with magnets small enough to swallow are a risk to children.
If your child swallows a magnet, they could:
- suffer a serious injury
- need emergency surgery
- be at risk of death.
If they swallow more than one magnet, the magnets can:
- lock together through the walls of the intestines
- infect, tear or obstruct your child’s insides.
The current toy safety standard for magnets applies to all toys that:
- are new
- are made for children under 14 to play with
- contain hazardous small magnets that are stored loose, attached to or fitted into toys.
When buying your child a magnetic toy, think about:
- the maker's age grading
- other children who might access the toys (such as younger siblings or friends).
Always store the toys out of reach of younger children.
A permanent ban exists on the sale of small high-powered magnets.
This ban applies to magnets that:
- are smaller than a ping-pong ball or could fit inside a 35mm film canister
- have a magnetic flux of 50 or more
- are supplied in groups of 2 or more.
These magnets mustn’t be sold in:
- any toy, game or puzzle (including but not limited to an adult desk toy, an educational toy or game, a toy, game or puzzle for mental stimulation or stress relief)
- a construction or modelling kit
- jewellery to be worn in or around the mouth or nose.