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Magnetic toys

Small magnets with a high magnetic strength can be a hazard to children. Any toy that includes a hazardous magnet or magnetic component must contain a warning about the hazards.

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.

When buying your child a magnetic toy, think about:

  • the maker's age grading
  • other children who might access the toys (e.g. younger siblings or friends).

Always store the toys out of reach of younger children.

Safety standards

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.

The mandatory standard prescribes requirements for the testing of products, warning labels for packaging, and instructions to prevent serious illness that can result if children swallow hazardous magnets.

A hazardous small magnet has a strength or magnetic flux index of 50 or more that comes in one of these shapes and sizes:

  • a cylinder with a maximum length of 32mm and maximum diameter of 11mm
  • a disc with a maximum diameter of 26mm and maximum thickness of 5mm
  • a sphere with a maximum diameter of 22mm

Performance and testing

Hazardous small magnets must not come loose when subjected to tests designed to simulate damage from typical actions young children take when playing, such as dropping, pulling and twisting toys.

Banned magnets

A permanent ban exists on the sale of small high-powered magnets.

This ban applies to magnets that:

  • are small enough to fit into the small parts cylinder used in the mandatory standard for toys for children up to and including 36 months of age (small enough to fit inside a 35mm film canister)
  • have a magnetic flux of 50 or more
  • are separable or loose and are supplied in groups of 2 or more
  • are marketed by the suppliers as—or supplied for use as—listed below.

These magnets mustn’t be sold in:

  • any toy, game or puzzle (including an adult desk toy; an educational toy or game; or 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.