New York Senator, Kristen Gillibrand (Democrat-New York), is seeking a ban on magnet toys, urging the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to ban the often-dangerous high-powered toy magnets.
The senator citing a number of injuries to children who have swallowed the high-powered magnets, said Staten Island Live (SILive). Magnets in children’s toys are, more and more, proving to be extremely dangerous if swallowed. Although no studies exist about how many children have ingested dangerous, high-powered magnets, CPSC data indicates that it has received 200 reports since 2008.
Neodymium magnets, which are marketed for children 14 years of age and older, often become toys for younger children. The spherical magnets are typically sold in packages of more than 100 and are 5mm in size, said SI Live. The magnets look like candy to children who swallow them or stick them in their ears and noses.
We recently wrote that increasing incident reports received by the CPSC point to a continuing problem with high-powered magnets and their safety risks to children. The CPSC reports that children of all ages, including teens, are swallowing magnets and suffering severe consequences. As we’ve said, if magnets are swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur. The CPSC issued previous safety alerts and developed a 2008 mandatory standard to prevent magnets from detaching from toys.
Risk scenarios differ by age, but the danger is the same, the CPSC noted. When multiple magnets are swallowed they can attract internally, resulting in significant injuries; potentially fatal problems can be difficult to diagnose; initial physical exams might not reveal a serious problem; and patients can suffer from bowel perforation, volvulus (intestinal twisting causing obstruction), ischemia (inadequate blood flow to a part of the body caused by constriction or blockage of the blood vessels), and death.
When magnets pass in the body beyond the stomach, they can attract each other through divergent intestinal walls, which is when obstruction can occur and when necrosis—death of cells or tissue—or intestinal perforation can occur. About 20% of all swallowing accidents require surgery.
This year, alone, said SILive, four of 19 reported incidents of children ingesting magnets originated in New York, according to Senator Gillibrand’s offices. “These dangerous magnets are increasingly ending up in the hands and mouths of children, putting their lives at grave risk,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Every parent wants to keep their child safe and this unsuspecting product has already caused too much harm. We should stop these dangerous toys from reaching any more homes and stores,” she added.
The Senator now asks the Commission “to go one step further and ban the sale of these magnets in retail stores and limit use to professional use only” as “current warnings … are not reducing the number of incidences of accidental ingestion,” wrote SILive.
Experts are also not convinced warnings and education are enough. For instance, it would be difficult to keep track of every magnet in a product containing hundreds of magnets and children are naturally attracted to the items, since they look like candy.