Consumer Watchdog

New strict rules for fidget magnets should reduce injuries in kids

Courtesy of CPSC | Public Domain
Tiny high-powered magnets are prohibited by new federal regulations, with a few exceptions. This brand of magnets was recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in March 2022.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has taken swings at tiny, high-powered magnets for years, with lawsuits, recalls and warnings. Now, it has finally made new rules aimed at better protecting children. The tiny magnets, often used as fidget toys, caused 26,600 children to require emergency room treatment from 2010 through 2021, according to the CPSC. In addition, at least seven children have died after ingesting high-powered magnets.

These types of magnets pose an incredible safety threat because children — including teenagers — sometimes put them in their mouth to mimic a piercing or for some other reason. But if two or more magnets are swallowed, they can connect and pinch internal tissue together cause serious issues such as intestinal blockage or blood poisoning.

Effective Oct. 21, federal standards now require individual magnets in certain magnet products to be either too big to swallow, or weak enough that they’re unlikely to connect inside the body. If magnets fail the CPSC’s small parts cylinder test (roughy the size of a cardboard toilet paper roll), they must have a flux index of less than 50 kG2 mm2.

The rule applies to magnets manufactured after Oct. 21.

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