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The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), the UK’s national product safety regulator, has issued a Safety Alert to warn of the risk of serious injury and death from swallowing small high-powered magnets

This follows increasing reports of injuries and a small number of deaths after ingestion of magnets, particularly among children and young people. OPSS has identified a particular hazard arising from the use of high-powered magnets in products, where the magnets can be swallowed, such as fridge magnets, earrings, tongue piercings and drink charms.

The public is being asked to take appropriate steps to keep these products away from children as ingestion could result in a serious or fatal injury. Parents or guardians should understand the signs of magnetic ingestion and act quickly to get immediate medical treatment if they believe a magnet has been swallowed.

In addition, OPSS is working with local authority Trading Standards to identify and take appropriate action against any products where magnets that breach the required level of magnetic flux may be ingested by a child.

More information and resources

  • The safety alert issued can be viewed here
  • A news page, which also provides access to some social media messaging, can be found here.
  • A Safety Alert issued by NHS England highlighting the dangers posed by these products and providing guidance on treatment and assessment.
  • Guidance by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

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