Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Deadly attraction: Keep magnetic desk toys away from children, teens :

December 27, 2017

You don’t see high-powered magnet sets on toy store shelves anymore, and it’s for a serious reason. Also known as rare-earth magnets, they have a strong attraction to one another and can be deadly if swallowed.

However, some high-powered magnet sets still are sold online and in stores as desk toys for adults. You might see them in offices, on living room tables or perhaps you received a set as a gift over the holidays.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges families with children to keep high-powered magnet sets out of their home. Young children might be tempted to put the small, shiny objects into their mouths. Teens might put them in their mouths to look like a tongue piercing.

The magnets are about the size of a BB or tiny cube and often come in clusters of 200 or more. They can be molded and shaped without coming apart. They are made from a combination of metals (neodymium) with a more powerful attraction than regular magnets.

When two or more magnets or one magnet and a piece of metal are swallowed, they can attract each other through the stomach, intestines and other organs. This can lead to injury or death, unless removed by a surgeon.

A child who has swallowed magnets can have stomach pain, vomiting and fever. Parents should get medical help right away.

In 2008, the AAP helped change rules about how children’s toys with magnets are made. Now, magnets must be attached to the toy so they cannot fall out and be swallowed by children.

The AAP is asking for changes to protect children from being injured by magnet sets sold to adults. A recent study found that half of all magnet injuries to children were from sets labeled for adults (

Check to see if products with magnets have been recalled at Report any injuries from high-powered magnets to

Find more information on, the AAP website for parents, at

Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal