Small, strong magnets are used to attach parts in a variety of children’s toys, or to make toys magnetically stick to other play objects. But the magnets can be dangerous to children if they can be swallowed. Children have been seriously injured after consuming magnets that have come off toys.
If children swallow a number of magnets, the magnets can lock together through the walls of the intestines and cause perforations and blockages. Children can also suffer serious infections if this happens. This requires urgent surgery to remove the magnets in order to avoid serious medical complications or death.
If children put magnets in their mouth they can choke if the magnets lodge in their throat. This can cause children to suffocate if the magnets are blocking their windpipe.
The mandatory standard for children's toys containing magnets was declared on 16 February 2010 and came into effect on 1 July 2010. It covers warning labels required for packaging, and instructions to prevent serious illness that can result if children swallow hazardous magnets.