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Health Canada Alerts Parents and Caregivers to the Dangers of Swallowing Small Magnetic Parts from Mega Brands Magnetix Magnetic Building Sets
- Starting date:
- November 12, 2014
- Posting date:
- November 12, 2014
- Type of communication:
- Children's Products, Toys
- Source of recall:
- Health Canada
- Important Safety Information
- General Public
- Identification number:
- What you should do
- Report health or safety concerns
- Related AWRs
- Media enquiries
- Public enquiries
- What Health Canada is doing
Health Canada is alerting the public to the danger to children of all ages posed by toys with small, powerful magnets or certain toys with small powerful magnetic parts. When more than one powerful magnet is swallowed in a short period of time, the magnets can attract one another while moving through the intestines. This can cause the intestines to twist, creating blockages or tearing of the intestinal walls. The results of swallowing small powerful magnets can be very serious and life-threatening. Swallowing incidents have often resulted in considerable damage to the gastrointestinal tissues and required emergency surgical treatment. For survivors, there can be serious lifelong health problems.
Health Canada recently received an incident report involving a three year old child who swallowed two magnetic parts (2.7 cm long rods) from a Mega Brands Magnetix Magnetic Building Set. The child received swift medical attention and sustained no injury.
Mega Brands Magnetix Magnetic Building Sets, sold in Canada from 2006 to 2009.
887,000 units from over 100 different Magnetix sets were sold in Canada. They contained up to 350 plastic building pieces in an assortment of colours (primary) and finishes (metallic, translucent and glow in the dark). The building pieces included 2.54 cm triangles, cylinder rods, flexors and curves, as well as 1.25 cm diameter steel balls.
Due to numerous serious injuries requiring emergency medical treatment, and one fatality in the United States in 2005, Magnetix Magnetic Building Sets sold before April 2006 were recalled in Canada in 2007. For these toys the small, powerful magnets were prone to separate from their plastic parts. Both younger and older children were involved in swallowing incidents. Mega Brands redesigned their Magnetix magnetic building parts so that the small, powerful magnets were more securely attached. Building sets with these modified parts were sold in Canada from April 2006 to March 2009. Even though the small magnets were no longer detaching during play, many of the magnetic building parts in these sets were small enough to be swallowed by a child, as was the case in the recent incident where two rods were swallowed.
At the time these products were originally sold, they met the relevant requirements for safety; however, those requirements have evolved. Today, certain toys with powerful magnets are considered a serious danger to children of all ages. These toys have powerful magnetic parts that are small enough to be swallowed or have small, powerful magnets that separate from parts.
What you should do
Consumers should immediately and safely discard all Mega Brands Magnetix Magnetic Building Sets. They are also reminded to discard any older-style Magnetix magnetic toys that were recalled in 2007. The toys should be disposed of in normal household garbage in such a way that they cannot be used or re-sold. Please note that the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act prohibits recalled products from being redistributed, sold or even given away in Canada.
Report health or safety concerns
Health Canada would like to remind Canadians to report any health or safety incidents, past or present, related to the use of a consumer product or cosmetic by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.
Mail: Incident Report - Consumer Product Safety Directorate
269 Laurier Avenue West - 4907A
Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1A 0K9
What Health Canada is doing
Health Canada has taken enforcement action to have dangerous magnet sets removed from the Canadian market. On April 26, 2013, Health Canada issued a notice entitled, Information for Manufacturers, Importers, Distributors and Retailers of Products Containing Small, Powerful Magnets to provide information on the characteristics of certain magnet sets and children's magnetic toys that are considered to pose a danger to human health or safety. The April 2013 Notice also indicates that Health Canada is taking action on children's toys that contain one or more small, powerful magnet or one or more small, powerful magnetic component. Since 2006 there have been several voluntary recalls of children's toys with powerful magnets where the magnetic parts were either small enough to be swallowed, or small powerful magnets were separating from the toy parts.
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For more information
For more information on the danger of swallowing magnets, please see the Government of Canada Magnets Web page.
Please visit the Is Your Child Safe? Play Time web page for information on choosing and using toys safely.
To alert parents and caregivers of the serious hazards associated with small powerful magnets, Health Canada has issued a number of consumer advisories:
- May 2013 Health Canada Advisory
- August 2012 Health Canada Advisory
- September 2008 Health Canada Advisory
- Healthy Canadians Magnets
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