Toy Magnet Child Injuries
Issue: Children injured by swallowing powerful small magnets
Since the mid-2000’s, high-powered magnet toys have been introduced to the market and sold by major retailers across the U.S. Some these toys are building style, connectivity toys marketed specifically for children. Other toys are pellet-style and marketed as stress relieving, novelty desk toys for adults (see example below).
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has warned parents to be watchful of children’s toys containing small magnets that may come loose and fall out, as well as adult desk toys made up of small magnets.
Why Are Toy Magnets Dangerous For Children?
Small, high-powered magnets can pose life-threatening risks to young children when swallowed. If multiple magnets are ingested, the magnets can attract each other and stack together or pinch tissues inside the digestive system. Multiple magnets in the digestive system can cause serious injuries such as twisting of the bowel, bowel obstruction, necrosis, perforation, and sepsis. These types of internal injuries can require surgery and can lead to lifelong health issues or death.
According to the CPSC, high-powered magnet sets led to the death of at least one toddler as well as about 2,900 emergency room-treated injuries between 2009 and 2013. The magnets also pose a serious risk to teens and tweens, who have used them to create fake lip, tongue, and nose piercings.
The CPSC recommends that if you suspect your child has swallowed a magnet to seek immediate medical attention. Common symptoms of magnets in the intestines include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
What has the CPSC done to promote safety for children and reduce toy magnet dangers?
In September 2014, the CPSC established a new national safety standard for high-powered magnet sets to protect young children and teenagers from serious medical problems. The new regulation requires individual magnets to meet both size and attraction standards determined to be safe by the regulatory agency. Certain hazardous magnet sets that were previously in the marketplace had a magnetic force that was 37 times greater than what the new performance standard permits.
Magnets manufactured or imported on or after the April 1, 2015, effective date must meet the new performance standard. Once the safety standard becomes effective, the manufacture, importation, distribution or sale of high-powered magnet sets that are subject to the federal standard and do not comply will be illegal.
If your child was seriously injured by a product, including after swallowing a toy magnet, please use the form on this page to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Lieff Cabraser.