Personal Injury

Toy Magnets and Dangers to Children

Issue: Child injuries from magnets

In the mid-2000’s, high-powered magnet toys were 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 to 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 are some of the toy magnets that have allegedly injured children who swallowed them?

  • Zen Magnets – In June 2015, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against Zen Magnets, ordering the business to stop selling recalled high-powered magnets. The government alleges that Zen Magnets bought almost a million magnets from Star Networks shortly before the U.S. government officially recalled the product, and then sold them following the recall.
  • Buckyballs – In May 2014, following extensive negotiation and numerous incidents of children swallowing their magnet products, Buckyballs manufacturer and the U.S. government reached a settlement agreement that includes a full recall and prohibition of Buckyball’s high powered magnetic products.Buckballs product image
  • Kringle Toys and Gifts – In January 2013, Kringle Toys and Gifts recalled Nanospheres Magnetic Desk Toys due to the ingestion hazard to children.
  • Rainbow Force Plastic Products – In November 2011, Rainbow Force recalled Toulouse-LapTrec magnetic sketch boards. The drawing pen attached to the sketch board uses a magnet, which can detach and pose a hazard to children if ingested.
  • Magnetix Child Toys Recall – In March 2008, Magnetix recalled more than 1 million toy products. Magtastik and Magnetix Jr. Pre-School Magnetic Toys are animal, vehicle or building toys embedded with magnets that allow the parts to connect to large, colored metal balls. These magnets can detach and become an ingestion hazard, especially for young children.Magnetix product image

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.

Child Injury Attorneys | Lawyers

If your child was seriously injured by a product, including after swallowing a toy magnet, please use the form below to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Lieff Cabraser. Alternatively, you may call us toll-free at 1 (800) 541-7358 and ask to speak to attorney Fabrice Vincent.

Lieff Cabraser has successfully litigated cases on behalf of parents of injured children across America. We will review your claim for free, confidentially, and with no obligation on your part.


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