Swallowing High-Powered Magnets Can Be Deadly for Kids, Warns CPSC

Once again, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning parents and guardians to watch out that their kids don’t swallow any magnets. The latest advisory focuses on high-powered magnets, in particular, and comes following a rise in the number of related child injuries reported in the past two years.
In 2009, the CPSC says there was just one incident involving high-powered ball-bearing magnets reported. However, that number went up to 7 in 2010 and there have been at least 14 already reported this year. Magnet ingestion occurred in 17 of the incidents, while surgery (including repair to intestines or the stomach) was required to remove the magnets on 11 of the occasions. The person to sustain this type of child injury was 18 months, while the oldest was age 15.
High-Powered Magnets
These magnets and magnet parts are often small enough to swallow and are not allowed to be used in kid and infant products. They can be found in desk toys for adults and/or are used as stress relievers. High-powered magnets are usually sold in 200-piece sets.
Because the small pieces do separate, it is not unusual for a toddler to get hold of one and put it in his/her mouth. Teenagers and younger kids have also been known to swallow or inhale the small magnet pieces either accidentally or on purpose.
Swallowing Magnets
That said, swallowing any kind of magnet can cause serious injuries, including intestinal blockage, holes in the intestines and stomach, blood poisoning, and death. If two magnetic parts are swallowed, they can be drawn toward each other through the walls of the intestine and that is when the serious injuries can occur. This is why it is so important that manufacturers make products that don’t pose this type of injury risk.
In April 2007, the CPSC reported that it had received hundreds of complaints of magnet pieces falling out of toys. At the time, it said that it knew of at least 33 incidents involving kids swallowing the magnet pieces and having to undergo emergency surgery. The CPSC even recalled over eight million products with magnet pieces that could come loose.
Our products liability lawyers represent the families of children that were injured by a defective product or one that wasn’t designed safely enough to prevent serious injuries or deaths. We know how upsetting it can be to find out that your child got hurt because another party was negligent and we are here to help our clients obtain financial recovery from those responsible.
There are steps you can take to prevent magnet-related injuries, including:
• Keep them away from kids
• Make sure that any small magnet pieces haven’t come loose
If you believe your son/daughter may have swallowed a magnet piece, get medical help right away.
CPSC Warns High-Powered Magnets and Children Make a Deadly Mix, CPSC, November 10, 2011
Ingested Magnets Can Cause Serious Intestinal Injuries, CPSC (PDF)
More Blog Posts:
Little Tikes Recalls Another 1.7 Million Toy Workshop and Tool Sets Over Choking Hazard, Product Liability Law Blog, October 6, 2011
MEGA Brands and Battat Recall 2.4 Million China-Made Toys with Magnets, Product Liability Law Blog, March 17, 2008
Latest Magnetic Building Kit Recall Is A Reminder That Swallowing Magnets Can Cause Serious Injuries, Product Liability Law Blog, January 29, 2008

Contact our products liability law firm today. The Gilbert Group represents clients throughout the US.


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