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. Since 2009, the CPSC has reported 22 incidents of children and teens, ranging in age from 18 months to 15 years, swallowing these high-powered ball-bearing magnets. According to a recently 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.

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

  • Keep all magnets out of reach from children who might swallow them.
  • 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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