New warnings about magnets will be put on toys following a string of recalls in the UK.
Among the toys recalled was a Barbie doll with her pet dog Tanner – there was a risk that a small magnet in the ‘pooper scooper’ could become detached.
The new safety warning, announced by the European Commission, will tell parents that a child could be seriously harmed or die if a magnet is swallowed.
Consumer minister Gareth Thomas said: ‘The warning will help parents make informed decisions about which toys to buy and to be on their guard in supervising how their children play at home.’
Mr Thomas said that the recent recalls were a worry for parents and that the commission had started a comprehensive review of EU toy safety legislation.
Dozens of children around the world have been injured after swallowing magnets contained in toys, including a nine-year-old who collapsed and vomited.
Small magnets can fall out during the course of play, but it’s particularly dangerous if a child swallows more than one magnet, as in the case of the nine-year-old.
In November 2006, US toy company Mattel recalled 18 million toys globally over concerns that small, powerful magnets could become detached.
The recalls were part of a series of alerts about Chinese-manufactured products.
The warning will come into effect in July and reads in full: ‘Warning! This toy contains magnets or magnetic components. Magnets sticking together or becoming attached to a metallic object inside the human body can cause serious or fatal injury. Seek immediate medical help if magnets are swallowed or inhaled.’