Magnetic toys

Magnets are a common feature in some toys. Magnets with a high magnetic strength and which are small enough to be swallowed are a hazard.

Any toy that includes a hazardous magnet or magnetic component must contain:

  • a warning about the hazards
  • an age grading for the product.

This must be prominent on the packaging and in the instruction booklet.

What are the 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.

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.

When buying your child a magnetic toy, think about:

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

Always store the toys out of reach of younger children.

Banned magnets

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

This ban applies to magnets that:

  • are smaller than a ping-pong ball or could fit inside a 35mm film canister
  • have a magnetic flux of 50 or more
  • are supplied in groups of 2 or more.

These magnets mustn’t be sold in:

  • any toy, game or puzzle (including but not limited to an adult desk toy, an educational toy or game, 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.
Updated: 27 May 2020