High-powered magnets are small, shiny magnets made from powerful rare earth metals. Since they started showing up in children’s toys in the early 2000s and then later in desk sets in 2009, high-powered magnets have caused thousands of injuries and are considered to be among the most dangerous ingestion hazards in children. When more than one is swallowed, these high-powered magnets attract to each other across tissue, cutting off blood supply to the bowel and causing obstructions, tissue necrosis, sepsis and even death.

Injury Facts

  • Nearly 1250 high-powered magnet-related injuries reported to poison centers for children age 0-19 years in recent years.
  • Most calls were for children who were male (55%), younger than six years (62%), with an unintentional injury (84%).
  • Approximately one-half (48.4%) of patients were treated at a hospital or other healthcare facility while 48.7% were managed at a non-healthcare site such as a home, workplace, or school. Children in older age groups were more likely than younger children to be admitted to the hospital. 
  • High-powered magnets are a risk for teenagers as well. Serious injuries can happen when teens use these products to mimic tongue or lip piercings. 

Magnet Injury Prevention tips:

  • If there are children or teens who live in or frequently visit your home, don’t buy these products. 
  • If you have high-powered magnets in your home, throw them away.

Learn more about toy safety here.

Additional Magnets Resources:

High-Powered Magnet Exposures in Children: A Multi-Center Cohort Study

Magnet Injuries in Children: An Analysis of the National Poison Data System From 2008-2019