LEGO changes magnet designs [News]

This should come as no surprise to anybody paying attention to all the magnet-related toy safety issues in the news over the last couple of years. Let me stress that LEGO has never, to my knowledge, recalled any of its toys that include magnets due to safety concerns. This appears to be a proactive change that anticipates future legislation in one or more of LEGO’s markets.

Here’s the word from Billund:

Hi all,

Due to a safety accident with another toy producers product, the LEGO Group is expecting a ban of small parts that contain magnets in the USA and the EU from 2009. As a consequence the LEGO Group has decided to stop selling products which contain magnets in small parts to obey already now the new rules and make no compromise with product safety.

This affects mainly 2 products – the LEGO fridge magnets and the LEGO train magnet couplings.

The train magnets will be re-designed as you can see on the pictures and we expect the new magnets in the boxes from August. LEGO Train sets packaged before August will still contain the existing magnets. The new LEGO train magnet element will be visually different from the existing train magnet element but due to that the magnet can rotate in the plastic cover and the clutch power will be as strong as at the old element the function will be identical and fully compatible with the existing train magnet elements.

The LEGO fridge magnets will also be re-designed and the new version is expected to be available for sale end of 2008.

Jan Beyer, LEGO Community Development


14 comments on “LEGO changes magnet designs [News]

  1. Rocko

    Will idiot children ever learn to keep things out of their mouths? As far as I know, Lego magnets were never marketed to children who were young enough to want to stick them in their mouth. The kids that caused this ridiculousness were obviously dumb enough to deserve to die anyways. ;)

  2. Louise

    Ahhh, but you are forgetting the idiot adults who give their very young children toys with magnets.

    IIRC you have to swallow at least two magnets for it to be dangerous (sticking together through the gut wall, causing perforation). Swallow just one and it’s not such a biggie, you just have to wait for nature to take its course.

    Any child old enough to know better who manages to swallow TWO magnets in short sucession? Well, that’s Darwinism in action ;-)

    I suppose it’s better that TLC make changes now BEFORE they have to do a recall and/or get sued. Even if it is for a highly unlikely scenario. Bleedin’ ‘elf ‘n’ safety.

  3. MrShowerr

    hm… i don’t understand what’s new in these elements. just another design with the same magnetical power? where’s the safety improvement? (maybe my english isn’t good enough to get the point)

  4. Fred

    So this is the end for the magnets like those used to hold the plates together in the star destroyer as well?

    Odd to see Lego addressing problems with children swallowing small parts. I wonder if this is the one part that has lead in it.

  5. Tim David

    MrShowerr – The magnet is permanently enclosed in a plastic part (but free to rotate inside it to give correct polarity). This plastic part is permanently attached to the buffer beam part, making the whole unit too big to swallow. However this permanent attachment means that you can’t use the magnet and holder without the buffer beam to make trains with no buffers (or anything else with no buffers)

  6. David

    Who over three eats LEGOs?

    And how do you change the minifigure magnet sets? You can’t. So stupid.

  7. Riley Hunter

    I wonder if it will take until August until these new buffers are available through Lego Factory and Pick a Brick. You can use them in Digital Designer but you currently have to delete them from the model so you can order it from Lego.

  8. Capn Pike

    OMG No! Don’t change our fridge magnets!
    Wait…sorry go ahead. I can live without fridge magnets.

  9. Ramone

    This doesn’t surprise me as the bricks are well known for being swallowed/passed by small kids. What gets me is that there are brick candies out–actually PROMOTING the idea of eating a lego.

    Does Darwin really need the extra help?

  10. Will

    How wrong would it be to mod this brick and remove the magnet. Oh, and LEGO, pleeeease give us a TECHNIC version of this new “Wonder magnet”

    And no, Darwin needs no help while lawyers live

  11. Neil

    But can these new magnets swivel up and down like the old ones? Trains changing grade might lever waggons apart a little, which reduces thw weight (and length) or trains…

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