Certain products with small, powerful magnets are considered a danger to human health or safety. Their sale is prohibited in Canada. Children can swallow these magnets and be seriously injured. These injuries can lead to emergency surgery, lifelong health problems and even death.

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Where small, powerful magnets can be found

Small, powerful magnets can be found in novelty magnet sets that are typically targeted to adults, including:

  • puzzles
  • sculpture kits
  • desk toys
  • stress relievers

Some children's toys also contain small, powerful magnets. Types of toys that may contain these magnets include:

  • construction sets
  • puzzles
  • toy jewellery and dress-up items
  • action figures and dolls
  • board games
  • train sets

Did you know?

Small, powerful magnets are also sometimes found in jewellery, clothing accessories and household items.

Health risks

Swallowing magnets can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences. It is especially dangerous if a child swallows more than one magnet over a short period of time. The magnets can attract one another while travelling through the intestines. When this happens, the magnets can slowly tear through the intestinal walls. It is also possible for the magnets to twist the intestines and create a blockage.


Because symptoms of swallowed magnets are often similar to the flu, they can be difficult to identify until severe injuries have developed. Common symptoms include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain

Did you know?

Small, powerful magnets can be a health hazard for older children too. Older children have unintentionally swallowed these magnets. This can happen when they:

  • use them as fake tongue or cheek piercings
  • attach them to braces
  • separate magnets with their teeth

Magnet safety tips

Following these safety tips can help prevent a serious injury involving magnets.

  • Safely discard novelty magnet sets with small powerful magnets. They are dangerous for children of all ages.
  • Check your children's toys. Remove and safely discard any toys with small, powerful magnets if the:
    • magnets are loose
    • magnetic toy pieces are small enough to be swallowed
  • Teach children of all ages about the dangers of powerful magnets. Magnets should never be placed in the mouth or in other body parts.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for any child who has swallowed (or is suspected of having swallowed) 1 or more magnets. You should also report any injuries or safety concerns.
  • Read and follow the age recommendations, warnings, safety messages and assembly instructions for products.

Product recalls

Check product recalls for toys or other products that have been recalled because of incidents with magnets. Use the search term "magnets" to help narrow the results.

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