24 January 2018
Magnetic putty

Parents are being urged to exercise caution with regard to a children’s toy – magnetic putty, consisting of a bag containing a putty substance and a small cube magnet.

An example has been withdrawn from sale for safety reasons by Northamptonshire Trading Standards Service after an investigation found it had seven times the amount of arsenic and twice the amount of lead permitted.

Tests commissioned by Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards also discovered that the small cube magnet included with the item was of a size that could be easily swallowed and was 29 times in excess of the magnetic force that is allowed.

Children swallowing two or more magnets or a magnet and a metal object have previously required major surgery as the magnets are attracted to each other and may cause lacerations of the digestive tract.

The product purchased in Northamptonshire had been bought from a market stall in the county and despite including a ‘not suitable for 0-3 years warning’ did not have a CE mark indicating that it complied with the essential safety requirement for toys or other required labelling, including the identity of the manufacturer or importer.

The lack of these details indicates that a proper safety assessment of the toy may not have been made and makes tracing and removal of the product from sale slower and more difficult.

Magnetic putty

Trading Standards officers also recovered from a shop in the county a teddy bear that features LED lighting and have ordered its removal from sale.

The stuffing was easily accessible and posed a choking hazard, while the light chain inside was easily removed and a strangulation threat.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for public protection and education, said:


“These are two examples of toys which clearly did not meet the required level of safety which is acceptable and our Trading Standards officers have taken the appropriate action.

“This isn’t the case of the products on sale for our children being of shoddy quality but about them being a genuine safety concern.

“Anyone who would like more information about safety regulations can find out more at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.”

Trading Standards have the following advice for shoppers:

  • Make sure toys are labelled with a CE mark and the name and address of the manufacturer or importer
  • If the toy is for a small child, look for small parts that might come off and represent a choking hazard
  • Plug-in fairy lights should also have a CE mark and include clear instructions for use
  • If possible examine lights prior to purchase for signs of shoddy or poor construction

Anyone who has concerns about a toy or electrical item they have purchased or seen on sale can contact Trading Standards by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.