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Product Safety for Consumers with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Being a caregiver is a labor of love. CPSC is here to support caregivers of adults and children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDDs) with resources and information to help them live safer.


Children’s Caregivers Tips:

  • Keep toys with high-powered magnets and small parts away from children. Products marketed to children with special needs (sensory toys, etc.) are not necessarily safer than any other toy, especially if they contain high-powered magnets or small parts.
  • Always purchase toys that meet the needs, interests, and ability level of your child. Children’s products are age graded based on neurotypical children. You know your child’s abilities best. Their abilities may vary from the product age grading by: safety awareness, strength, dexterity and/or other dimensions.
  • If you believe you’ve found an unsafe toy or other product, report it to CPSC on

Button Cell or Coin Batteries Safety Tips:

If swallowed, button batteries and coin cell batteries can cause deadly internal injuries. A button cell battery can burn through a child’s throat or esophagus in as little as two hours. Adults have swallowed button batteries mistaken for pills or tablets.

  • If a button cell or coin battery is swallowed, immediately seek medical attention.
  • Keep products with accessible batteries away from people with IDD, especially if the battery compartments do not have a screw closure to secure the batteries.
  • If the battery compartment is damaged, replace, repair, or dispose of the product as soon as possible.
  • Check all toys to make sure battery compartments are secured.
  • Do not allow people with IDD to play with or be in contact with button cell or coin batteries.
  • Find more safety tips in our Button and Coin Cell Battery Safety Education Center.


High-Powered Magnetic Balls and Cubes Safety Tips:

When two or more high-powered magnets are swallowed, they attract each other inside the body. Many incidents of swallowing high-powered magnets result in surgeries to remove the magnets. When a magnet has to be removed surgically, it can also require repairing the child's damaged stomach and intestines.

  • If magnets are swallowed, immediately seek medical attention.
  • Medical symptoms to watch for are: abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, these and other symptoms may not appear until after serious internal injury has occurred.
  • Don’t let anyone put magnets near their mouth or nose. 
  • Remove magnet sets, small magnets and small pieces containing magnets from the home if there is a risk that they may be swallowed.
  • Look out for loose magnetic pieces–and regularly inspect toys and play areas.
  • Find more high-powered magnet safety tips in our Magnet Safety Education Center.

Medication Safety Tips:

Colorful medications may sometimes be confused for food or candy. To keep adults and children with IDD safe:

  • Keep medicines in their original child-resistant containers.
  • Do not store medications in unlocked containers. Keep medications safely stored in a locked cabinet or box and out of the reach of someone with IDD.
  • Unfinished or unused medicines should be discarded properly. Ask your local pharmacy or police department if they have a disposal kiosk for medications. 
  • Never call medicine “candy.”
  • Find more poison prevention safety tips in our Poison Prevention Safety Education Center.

Laundry Packet Safety Tips:

Laundry packets may be confused for food or candy. To keep adults and children with IDD safe:

  • Store laundry packets in their original containers and out of the sight and reach of people with IDD.

Call Poison Help (800-222-1222) immediately if a someone swallows or is exposed to the chemicals or batteries. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect someone may have swallowed a magnet. 

Report incidents with consumer products to CPSC at

Report an unsafe product