Last reviewed 8 April 2021

A growing number of cases where children and teenagers have suffered serious internal injuries after swallowing small, high-powered magnets has led the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) to launch a new safety campaign.

If swallowed, the OPSS explains, these magnets can pull together with enough force to cause serious and even life-threatening damage to the digestive system.

Supported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and the Child Accident Prevention Trust, it has produced messages on how to keep children safe.

On Twitter it says: “Swallowing magnets can cause serious internal injuries. Keep products with small or loose magnets away from children” #MagnetSafety.

The OPSS is also putting out the same warning on its Facebook page and on Instagram.

The campaign urges parents and others to talk to older children about the dangers associated with putting magnets near, or in their mouths, or swallowing them. They should also check if a child with stomach pain, vomiting or fever has been playing with magnets.

If they suspect that a child has swallowed magnets then they are advised to call 999 or to take them to A&E straight away.