New mandatory requirements would better protect children by helping to prevent injury from swallowing magnets
OTTAWA, Nov. 3, 2017 /CNW/ - The use of small powerful magnets is a popular feature in children's toys, but these magnets can be dangerous if swallowed by children. When more than one powerful magnet is swallowed in a short period of time, the magnets can attract one another, causing serious and even life-threatening injuries. That is why Health Canada is taking action to help protect the health and safety of Canadians, particularly children, from unsafe consumer products.
Health Canada announced today that it will publish proposed amendments in the Canada Gazette, Part I that set out mandatory new requirements and tests for magnetic toys in the Toys Regulations. The amendments will be published for a 75-day consultation period.
The proposed regulatory changes include restrictions on both the size and strength of magnetic toy components, as well as specific tests to identify dangerous magnetic parts that may separate from a toy during play. These changes will align Canadian safety requirements for magnetic toys with those in the U.S. and in Europe.
The proposed mandatory requirements for magnetic children's toys do not affect the current prohibition on dangerous novelty magnet sets. These items will remain banned in Canada.
Canadians are encouraged to review the proposed amendments and to submit feedback to Health Canada by January 17, 2018.
- A 2013 survey of more than 100 retail locations found over 700 different magnetic toys being sold in Canada.
- Since 2006, Health Canada has regularly communicated with Canadians and the toy industry about the risks of small powerful magnets in toys and has negotiated recalls of dangerous magnetic toys.
- The Department issued a notice to industry in 2013 stating that certain novelty magnet sets, often marketed as desk toys for adults, are considered a danger to human health or safety and therefore their sale in Canada is prohibited under the authority of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.
- In a limited survey, conducted by the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program, of hospital emergency department data from 2005 and 2011, 53% of children with magnet-related problems required emergency room treatment and 3% required hospital admission.
"Parent and caregivers should feel confident that the toys they buy are safe for children, including toys that may contain magnets. These proposed amendments will help to better protect our children, particularly younger children, from potentially life-threatening injuries that can happen if they swallow small powerful magnets."
Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
SOURCE Health Canada
For further information: Yves-Alexandre Comeau, Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations, Health Canada, 613-957-2983; Public Inquiries: 613-957-2991, 1-866 225-0709