Magnet Safety

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an increasing number of incidents are being reported of children swallowing high-powered magnets found in desk and stress reliever toys made for adults. These magnets are typically sold in sets and include several hundred tiny magnets in each pack.

Toddlers often mistake these small magnets for candy and teens use them to mimic body piercings, which may lead to unintentional swallowing. Ingestions of powerful, rare-earth magnets have increased steeply since 2016, when a federal ban on selling them was lifted. National poison control centers recorded approximately 1,600 cases of magnets being swallowed in 2019 - more than six times the total in 2016. According to a published study in the journal Pediatrics,the number of children admitted to U.S. emergency rooms due to swallowing small objects, including high-powered magnets, almost doubled from 1995 to 2015. Of children who swallowed more than one magnet, 71.1% required hospitalization.

If swallowed, high-powered magnets can cause serious and life-threatening injuries. When multiple magnets are swallowed, they can connect to one another within the abdomen, blocking a portion of the intestines. This may lead to serious injuries including intestinal holes and blockages.

Symptoms To Look For

  • Choking episode in the vicinity of magnets
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Sever abdominal pain

Seconds Matter

Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect your child has swallowed one or multiple magnets. Visit your local emergency department to receive an x-ray as soon as possible. Do not allow your child to eat or drink until after they receive an x-ray. Repairing the damage caused by magnets may require multiple surgeries.

Safety Tips

  • Avoid high powered magnet sets around children.
  • Keep all magnets out of reach from children who might swallow them.
  • Educate kids and teens about the dangers of magnets if ingested.
  • Get help quickly if you suspect a magnet has been swallowed.
  • Spread the word! Tell your friends and family members about the dangers associated with swallowing magnets.

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