Candy shaped vitamins are not dangerous in and of themselves, but they train children to think that candy comes from medicine bottles. You could make a similar argument for tick-tacks and any number of other candies that look like medicine capsules.
Parents give their children tick-tacks (because it's just candy, so why not?) and children see their parents getting "candy" out of medicine bottles. When some of them inevitably come across dangerous medication (which happen to be small and easy to lose...), some of them will pop it in their mouth with the fairly reasonable expectation that it will taste good.
How parents perceive the danger of any of these things is not particularly relevant, particularly in the case of medication. The question we should be asking is how much harm are they actually causing.
Cleaning supply marketing and children vitamins cause far more deaths than magnets could ever dream of causing.
I understand that you find this argument to be compelling, but as a parent and a friend of many other parents, you're just not going to convince me that parents think cleaning chemicals are safe, or that parents think children's vitamins are safe. I am terrified of children's vitamins (iron poisoning!), and they're not even empirically dangerous to my middle-school-aged kids.
Incidentally: I just looked it up, and it looks like children's vitamins? Also less dangerous, epidemiologically, than rare earth magnets. I find that surprising; maybe you can find a better study that shows how often they kill kids.
You seem to be misunderstanding me. Maybe children vitamins are dangerous themselves, maybe they aren't. I am giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming they are relatively safe.
The damage done by children vitamins, primarily the ones that are dressed up to look like candy, is actually dealt out by the prescription medication that children swallow and die. The danger children vitamins pose would still be present if they were nothing but sugar pills (and sugar pills that look exactly like medication are dangerous as well).
How many parents of poisoned children have heard "I thought it was candy!"?
That you and the other parents you know are reasonably paranoid about the danger of vitamins and other medications is commendable, but thousands of kids are still being lethally poisoned. If the injuries to children from magnets are enough to concern us, then the poisonings should concern us even more so.
If your argument is that parents are cavalier about medicine, and not just candy-flavored vitamins, I'm sorry to say I'm even less persuaded.
Again: I perceive your argument to be that if the government is going to regulate products, it should sort products by the number of injuries or fatalities they cause and proceed from the top of the list downwards.
My argument is that this isn't the government's M.O.; they don't see it as their mission to eliminate all risk, or even the risk of bad parenting. Instead, their issue is with products that appear to be much much safer than they are. Their concern is literally constrained to marketing, and nothing else. I do not see how you get around the fact that tiny round rare earth magnets sold in sets of 200 are, in actual fact, way the hell more dangerous than their colorful fun packaging makes them seem. Zen Magnets appears to suggest wearing them!
In the same way that magnetic toys are a novelty that can cause injury or death to young children, vitamins that look like candy (but is treated like prescription medication: packaged the same and stored in the same place. Treated with the same paranoia by parents.) and candy that looks like prescription medication (think: tick-tacks) cause harm. Specifically they cause harm by contributing to confusion between candy and medication among children.
They specifically call out parents calling medication "candy". This is apparently something that parents do with enough frequency to warrant calling out. As far as I am concerned, candy-like vitamin supplements are no better.
I would suggest that prescription medication manufactures stop making medicine in bright colors and fun shapes, however I suspect the harm done by such a suggestion in the form of accidental adult poisonings would outweigh the benefits.
I would therefore argue, were I inclined to, that candy and vitamin companies should modify their products. I would not advocate prescription medication companies altering anything.
So my thesis: confusion between medication and candy kills thousands of children every year. There are trivial things we can go after in an attempt to curb this phenomenon (to repeat: tell vitamin and candy companies to knock it off). Nobody is calling for these trivial measures, even though they seem greatly concerned about a problem with much smaller magnitude. The reason for this incongruity is that candies and vitamins are familiar, while magnet toys are new and striking.