Magnets have been used in toys for many years. Most commonly used magnets in toys are generally not hazardous because of their low strength, such as those found in large magnetic numbers, or because they are embedded in larger parts of toys which are not ingestion hazards.
Where a toy includes a hazardous magnet or magnetic component, the packaging and instructions must contain a warning about the hazards and an age grading for the product.
Any products with magnets small enough to swallow are a risk to children. If magnets are swallowed, they could result in serious injury, emergency surgery and even death. If children swallow a number of magnets, the magnets can lock together through the walls of the intestines and cause infections, perforations and obstructions.
Magnetic toy mandatory safety standards
The current toy safety standard around magnets applies to all toys that are supplied new and:
- are designed or clearly intended for children under 14 years to play with
- contain hazardous small magnets that are loose, attached to or embedded in components of toys.
When deciding whether to allow children to play with magnetic toys, parents should be guided by the manufacturer's age grading. They should also be conscious of other children who may access the toys, such as younger siblings or friends and ensure these toys are stored out of reach.
More information about laws surrounding children's toys containing magnets can be found on the Product Safety Australia website.
Last reviewed 05/06/2012