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Super strong magnets – how you can help parents to understand the dangers

4th October 2021

Katrina Phillips, CEO of the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), talks about the dangers of super strong magnets, and what you can do to help the parents you support to understand the risks.

woman's face

Katrina Phillips, CEO of the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT

There has been an alarming increase in children needing emergency surgery after swallowing super strong magnets. The magnets can stick together in a child’s bowel, effectively burning through the intestines as tissue dies between them, causing serious, even life-threatening, injuries.

Shockingly, some magnets sold on online marketplaces can be up to ten-times stronger than the law allows. Yet many parents are unaware of the dangers. Fridge magnets, construction toys and even decorative jewellery kits can all use super strong magnets. It only takes a second for a baby or toddler to pop them in their mouth while playing with older siblings.

hand holding supoer strong magnets from toys

Super strong magnets from toys.
Image courtesy of CAPT

That’s why we are working with the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) and the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons to raise awareness of the dangers of super strong magnets and the steps we can all take to keep children safe.

Of course, we can’t do it in isolation. Health visitors play a unique role in helping parents adjust to bringing their baby home, guiding them through the early days, weeks, months and beyond with expert knowledge, advice, and experience.

Health visitors also play a crucial role in helping parents stay one step ahead of their developing baby, so they’re ready for what their child does next – including their sudden curiosity in everyday objects and their desire to put things in their mouth. By sharing what you know about the dangers of super strong magnets with the families you support, you can help to keep children safe and prevent serious, potentially life-threatening injuries.

Visit the magnet safety hub on the CAPT website to find out more. On the hub you’ll find advice to share with parents, free downloadable resources and case studies bringing the dangers of super strong magnets to life.

Simply sharing our posts on Facebook and Twitter, if time is tight, helps to spread the word and inform more families about the dangers.

We know how much parents value the support of their health visitor. Everything you can share with them, whether that’s handing them a flyer or having a quick chat during your next visit or mandated check, helps to increase their awareness and equip them with the knowledge they need to keep their child safe.

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive, Child Accident Prevention Trust

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