Small magnets, like those found in magnetic building sets and other magnetic toys, can cause serious injuries or death if swallowed by children. According to a child safety alert issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), at least 33 children have suffered injuries from ingesting magnets from magnetic toys. With some injuries, magnets fell out of larger magnetic toy components, and with other injuries, children ingested intact toy components containing magnets.

If a child swallows two or more magnets, or a magnet and another metal object, they can attract to one another through intestinal walls. This traps the magnets in place and can cause serious injuries. When multiple magnets are ingested, surgery is required to remove the magnets, and sometimes, sections of the intestines must be removed. Injuries that children may suffer from swallowing magnets or magnetic toys include:

  • holes (perforations) in the intestines
  • intestinal twisting and/or blockage
  • infection
  • blood poisoning (sepsis)
  • death

To help prevent life-threatening magnetic toy injuries, parents and caregivers should:

  • seek immediate medical attention if there is a chance that a child may have sustained injuries from swallowing a magnet or magnetic toy
  • look for non-specific abdominal symptoms such as abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, etc.
  • note that objects in x-rays may appear to be a single object when in fact they are multiple magnetic pieces separated by intestinal walls
  • keep small magnets and small magnetic objects away from young children who might mistakenly, or intentionally, swallow them
  • look out for loose magnetic pieces and regularly inspect magnetic toys and play areas for missing or dislodged magnets
  • check for magnetic toy recalls

Magnetic Toy Defects

In 2006, a toy defect was discovered in Magnetix building sets which allowed the magnets inside the plastic building pieces to fall out and be swallowed or aspirated, resulting in injuries. After one death and four serious injuries, MEGA Brands, the Magnetix toy manufacturer, recalled more than 3.8 Magnetix buildings sets nationwide.

To correct the toy defect and prevent future injuries, MEGA Brands has recently implemented design enhancements to Magnetix toys, including sonic welding of panels, 100% inspection, gluing magnets into rods, and new labeling recommending the magnetic toys for children 6 years of age or older. Now, the defective toys are completely pulled from shelves and only improved products are being sold in stores.

If your child has suffered injuries from a defective magnetic children’s toy, our experienced child safety lawyers can answer your legal questions. Contact us Today!

Published November 17, 2011 by