Illinois AG (Still) Wants Ban On Magnets In Children's Products

Illinois AG Lisa Madigan is tired of children dying after ingesting improperly secured magnets in children’s products, so she’s suggesting a ban, according to the Chicago Tribune:

Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan sent a second letter Friday to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission urging a law banning magnets in children’s toys.

The letters follow the Tribune series “Hidden Hazards,” which revealed how the understaffed and sluggish commission fails to protect children from dangers in toys and other products.

Earlier this year, the Tribune reported the agency’s botched recall of Magnetix Magnetic Building Sets and the death of a child who swallowed magnets that fell out of the toys. This week, the Tribune reported on the dangers posed by loose magnets in children’s jewelry.

Magnet deaths are pretty horrific. Ingesting two or more magnets causes them to attract within the digestive system, resulting in tearing of the stomach and intestines. The best case scenario is emergency surgery, but at least one child has died after ingesting magnets that fell out of a toy.

Millions of toys have been recalled this year due to design flaws in which toys can break and release dangerous magnets.

Attorney general again urges ban on toy magnets [Chicago Tribune]


Edit Your Comment

  1. homerjay says:

    While we’re at it, we should ban anything that can be magnetized or attracted to a magnet.
    This message brought to you by the plastics council.

  2. Kevin Cotter says:

    We should just put all the children in plastic bubbles until they are finished with online college!


  3. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Wow, I didn’t know things were so tranquil in good old law-abiding Illinois that the AG was so desperate for something, anything to do. If time is hanging so heavy on her hands, maybe she can volunteer for the fire department or something.

  4. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize things were so tranquil in good old law-abiding Utopia–I mean Illinois–that the AG was so desperate for something, anything, to fill her day. After all, it’s not as though there are thousands of children dying of disease, abuse, ignorance, and poverty in Illinois anymore.

  5. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I did NOT post that twice. Dammit.

  6. azntg says:

    @Kevin Cotter: But they might suffocate in a plastic bubble! Won’t someone please think of the children?!? ;-)

  7. savvy999 says:

    Setting limits is an important part of parenting; train your children to eat only ONE magnet per day and everything will be fine.

  8. swedub says:

    BRIO has been using magnets in their wooden toy trains since the 50’s. Obviously there is a wrong way and a right way to incorporate magnets in toys. The magnets never fell off when me and my brothers were playing with them when growing up. Being boys we were pretty rough with them as well. It would be sad if the day I have children they can’t play with these same time-tested toys all because of a few improperly designed and manufactured modern toys. Note: I am Swedish, so I might be a little biased towards BRIO.

  9. homerjay says:

    @savvy999: Thaaaats right. Everything in moderation.

  10. SavageATL says:

    Do these children in Illinois not have food, or is what their parents offer not good enough for the demanding tykes of Illinois?
    We played with magnets as children and I don’t recall ever having EATEN one, we had, you know, FOOD. Yes, I’m aware of the fact that children put things in places where they don’t belong, but that doesn’t require a BAN. You say one child has died? Must be a real epidemic.

  11. UpsetPanda says:

    What kid EATS a magnet? I mean, I know little kids put their toys into their mouths, but doesn’t that stop by age 3 or 4? I can’t recall ever looking at a black disc that stuck to my fridge and going “I wonder how that would taste with spaghetti?”

    Common sense, people. Common sense. You notice a magnet is loose in your kid’s toy? Take it away. You notice a magnet is missing? Try to find the magnet and take away the toy in the meantime. Banning magnets will only make kids want to eat tape.

  12. Klink says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: But that would require parents to pay attention to their kids- we can’t have that, can we?

  13. The Stork says:

    @speedwell: Not to agree or disagree with Madigan here, but this is one of about five hundred things on her plate, including doing most of the idiot Governor’s job (like negotiating for electric rate relief last year.) God forbid she be diligent in her role as a public advocate (remind me which state again is the only one Fisher Price is recalling some toys in.)

  14. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Wow, when I grew up, we had lawn darts, fire-crackers, Matchbox cars with little pieces that came off…and, I had one of those Erector sets with the really nice sharp steel pieces, moving gears and real metal bolts and screws and an electric motor that plugged into the wall socket.

    Car seats? No way…the cargo area of the station wagon made a great playpen. We rode bicycles off wooden ramps and took sleds down long, dangerous icy hills, all without protective helmets or knee-pads.

    I think the problem is that they’re just not making children like they used to.

  15. XianZomby says:

    Those magnets, “rare earth” magnets made of neodymium… they will f**k you up. That’s what they’re putting in some of these toys. Same stuff in your hard drive to align the heads. If you ever pull those out of an old hard drive and play with them, you’ll see what I mean. They’re not like those ceramic magnets that can’t even hold up their own weight on the fridge. They are so damn strong they will pinch your fingers and make them bleed. I’ve been there. They are lots of fun to play with. But if they were inside your body, you’d be ruined. Here’s a safety page from a site that sells them: []

  16. DamThatRiver says:

    They can’t do this! Imagine a generation of kids deprived of the awesomeness of a Magna-Doodle. The horror!

  17. ThyGuy says:

    Dammit, I live in Illinois and we need these toys to weed out the idiots while they’re young.

  18. goodkitty says:

    I had to step over the bodies of three children this morning walking to work. This magnet massacre has to en… *cough* *choke*

  19. Electroqueen says:

    You know, I think a six year old is old enough to not swallow their toys.

  20. MYarms says:

    If a child swallows a magnet couldn’t you just put a magnet up to to their body and use it to pull it out? I’m sorry but if you let your kid die over something like this, you’re just a shitty parent.

  21. Ghede says:

    I say the solution lies in breeding superchildren who can quickly digest magnets, and use them to fuel their outlets for plugging in household appliances.

  22. Ghede says:

    @MYarms: Sure, and if the magnet is powerful enough, you won’t even need to pull it out. It will punch through the tissue to leave the body.

  23. Red_Eye says:

    Very simple fix here. Mix the glue with habanero or pure capcascin. The kid will never swallow two. While your kid is busy screaming in pain and drooling profusely (as if they didnt anyway before swallowing the magnet) take the second magnet from them and learn to watch them better…

  24. Sian says:

    AG’s desperate to look effective.

    I wonder if it will be worded poorly enough that toys with motors (Which of course require magnets) will also inadvertently be banned. Cause that would be hilarious.

  25. SpdRacer says:

    @speedwell: That is because the feds are doing her job for her, going after our corrupt governor. For those who don’t know the state capital of IL is no longer Springfield, Blag the Evader moved it to Chicago. Which is why all those flights paid for by the good citizens of IL for the gov to fly from Springfield to Chitown and back 3-4x a week to see his family are not illegal, or so he says.

  26. SpdRacer says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: I agree.

  27. SpdRacer says:

    @XianZomby: I got some bigger ones from a friend whose company manufactured pipes, they used them to clean the metal shavings out. They are frakin awesome magnets, lotsa fun. They will make you bleed if not careful.

  28. AnnieGetYourFun says:

    I’d repost that Onion article about stupid kids ruining great toys for the rest of us, but I don’t want to piss on anyone’s grave. Anyway, I think I posted it last time a kid died, and I might have felt guilty about it later.