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Safety concerns and lawsuits with Magnetix construction toy

MagnetixWhile this is not an official recall, it’s a pretty scary story. Magnetix (which we have never carried in our store) is being blamed for the death of a 22-month old boy and the serious illnesses of two other young boys, all of whom live in Washington state. Apparently, the small magnets became dislodged from the plastic toy and each of these children swallowed at least two of them, leading to internal injuries. You can read the full story here. It’s very sad.
I spent a long time tonight talking with one of the principals at Creative Zone, which manufactures Goobi, a magnetic construction toy that we do carry. I was hoping for some reassurance that this problem is limited to just this particular brand, but my friend at Goobi was more pragmatic. They have launched into action, sending as much information as they could gather to their manufacturing facility and doing some informal experiments of their own to try to determine what might have gone wrong.

From what I understood, this is very likely an isolated incident, and the geographic concentration of the problem supports that theory. The Magnetix are manufactured for big-box stores and mass market, so price point is a key consideration. More expensive products feature higher quality plastic and better manufacturing processes than the Magnetix. The team at Goobi spent a lot of time yesterday trying to dislodge the magnets from their plastic rods, and they had great difficulty.

Magnetic construction toys are incredibly popular (not to mention fun), and I hope that this issue does prove to be very limited in its scope. In the meantime, while other manufacturers work to ensure the safety of their products, parents should show some extra due diligance. Make sure that you are only giving these toys to children who meet the recommended age guidelines (usually 4 and up). Inspect the pieces of the set periodically to make sure that no magnets are missing or loose. If you do discover any faulty pieces, take them away from your children and contact the manufacturer immediately.


  1. My son swallowed one of the balls from the Magnetex set a while back. I was so scared I took him to Kaiser and had him X-rayed. They did not see it on the X-ray and said he would or had already passed it. I was scared because of the metal and it becoming rusty and poisoning him. Can the metal balls do harm?


    Hi Parents – This is now an official recall situation! Here is a website maintained by a concerned mom to tell you ALL ABOUT MAGNETIX and the horrors defective toys can cause in little children. Please read the Consumer Recall and send the link to all your friends!

  3. Just an FYI – I purchased a Goobi set for my daughter and the margets (about 2/3 the size of a pill) we falling out within an hour. When you pull the rod off the metal ball it often leaves the magnet behind.

  4. Update:
    Goobi contacted me the very next day after posting this comment. They were extremely responsive and very concerned this was happening. I couldn’t ask for me.

    I would also like to make a correction to the my comment above, it should read “magnet (about 2/3 the size of a pill) was falling out within an hour”. There was a single rod with this defect. My typos incorrectly made it look like this was more than one. My apologies for the confusion.

  5. I have a one year old Pomeranian who somehow got a hold of my sons Magnetex and swallowed 14 yes thats right 14 of the metal balls from the toy. I realized when she was running down the stairs that I could hear her jingleing. Upon inspection I knew right away what she had eaten but, I figured it was only about three of them. Still it was enough to require a trip to the Vet. He did an x-ray and we could see that there were at least 12 in there. She had surgery this morning and she will be able to come home tomarrow. I would not reccomend this toy to anyone. My kids are old enough that I don’t usually worry about small toys but, in the case of Magnetex we have paid a huge price and I am just glad that it wasn’t a child and that we caught the problem before it was too late.

  6. Jessica,
    My goodness! I hope your dog is ok!

  7. I just looked at the box of magnetix i have in my home and it says right on the front “Choking Hazard: Toy contains small balls and small parts. Not for children under 3 years.” Why any child 22 month would be allowed to play with the toy anyway is beyond me making the parents VERY unresponsible. Magnetix company is SOOO not responsible for this childs death.

  8. Um… a 22 month old kid huh? well see… it says, plain and simple on the box, ages 3 and up… so yeah, kids swallow things… this is old news, we know this… the thing is, don’t give your kids things that are small that they could swallow… not to say I am not sorry that the kid died, that is very sad, and is very sad, whenever you hear of anybody dying, especially young kids… but, I do not blame the toy… magnetix are an amazing toy that is just perfect for the kind of thoughtful intelligent play that parents look for when picking out a toy for their child, like lego, or k’nex, or uberstix, they are meant for an older child… Magnets are mot meant for babies… and so neither are magtenix… besides, those toys are GREAT!

  9. Hello, excuse, I can bad speak on English… I have found yours blog through search google, I was interested with your texts, I could translate them on Russian, for the publication in the small edition of our company? I would be grateful to you. Thanks.

  10. Nice blog! Thank you 🙂

  11. save to my Bookmarks 🙂

  12. This somewhat ridiculous. Young children swallow things! Everyone knows this. If yor child even past the recommended age still puts things in their mouth then don’t freaking give this toy to them! I am extemly sorry to hear about the death of the child and the others that were hurt but come on? A 22 moth old? Doesn’t matter even if it was an older siblings or a case similar to that. You have a baby that puts stuff in its mouth. Watch them! This is a great toy. We’ve always enjoyed these. For the record I’ve been through the older/younger sibling thing and all it takes is a damn watchful eye.

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