High-powered magnets – product safety

Small high powered magnets can pose serious health risks if swallowed. Some of these magnets are now banned from sale in New Zealand.

What you need to know

The sale of some high powered magnets is now banned in New Zealand.

Small strong magnets are harmless to play with – but if they are ingested or inhaled they can become attracted to each other and join up in the digestive system. If left untreated, this can result in major tissue damage, sepsis and even death.

The ban applies:

  • to the sale and supply of small, strong magnets sold in sets of 2 or more
  • in situations where children are able to access them.

The ban only applies where the magnets are intended for personal or domestic use.

Small high-powered magnets – unsafe goods notice

What you need to do

Parents and other adults should make sure that:

  • young children can't access the magnets, and
  • older children are aware of the dangers of misusing them.

The ban isn't retrospective, so there will be numerous sets of these magnets already out in the community. If you have a set of these magnets and are concerned about the risk to children, we recommend you dispose of them.

If you have a safety problem or concern

If you have some concerns about the safety of a product or if you’re injured by a product, you should tell the retailer or supplier about it.

You also have the right to ask for a remedy such as a refund, replacement, or repair under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). One of the guarantees in the CGA is that products must be of acceptable quality, and this includes that the product is safe.

Faulty products – Consumer Protection(external link)

In addition, it’s good to report the details to us – product safety reports from the public help government agencies to identify systemic issues and help us to prioritise and respond to issues.

Report an unsafe product