Warning over unsafe magnetic putty toys

Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service are urging parents to take care when buying magnetic putty – silly putty with added iron filings - the latest playground craze.

Officers made a test purchase of two such toys from a market trader in the county, after being tipped off by a worried resident.

Tests showed that the small, button shaped magnet included with the toy could be easily swallowed. And one magnet had 21 times the magnetic force levels allowed and the other 17 times over.

Explained senior enforcement officer Mark Weller: “The worry is that if a child swallows such a powerful magnet there is a risk of perforating or blocking the intestines if it comes into contact with another magnet or magnetic material, such as the putty and the magnetic material inside. This could cause serious injury or even death.”

The toys are similarly branded and include a very similar instruction leaflet to ones found earlier in the year in Northamptonshire which contained high levels of arsenic and lead and at the weekend officers seized 24 tins which appear to be identical.

Although the product was marked with a ‘not suitable for 0-3 years warning’ the warning was incomplete as the potential choking hazard posed by the small parts of the toy was not given in writing.

The products also lacked a CE mark which indicates compliance with the essential safety requirements for toys. There was also no name and address information for the importer or the manufacturer, also required by law.

Added Mark: “Despite the warning issued by Northamptonshire in January, we are concerned that dangerous toys are available, especially as we head into car boot sale season.

“Extreme caution should be exercised by parents and before considering purchasing such toys checks should be made to ensure they are labelled with the required information and have that CE mark.”

Councillor Judy Heathcoat, deputy leader of the council, said: “Anyone who has concerns about toys they have purchased or seen on sale can contact trading standards by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.”