Doctors are warning parents to be more aware of the potentially fatal threat high-powered magnets pose to their child’s health.
Neodymium magnets are as much as 20 times more powerful than older-style fridge magnets and have many popular uses such as in jewellery to mimic piercings, and in desktop toys where sets of 50 to100 balls can be moulded into different shapes.
Out of the 480 cases of high powered magnet ingestion reported in the US in the lat 10 years 204 occurred in the last 12 months. The majority of cases involved children under six ingesting magnets sold as desktop toys. The sets are labelled as being unsuitable for children and marketed as adult toys.
“But desks are right at a small toddler’s reach and if they grab one or two, you might not notice they’re missing. If they ingest more than one, that’s when issues come up.” says paediatric resident Dr Daniel Rosenfield.
If a child swallows two or more magnets they can attract each other. According to Rosenfield, "That portion of the gut dies as the magnets are pulled together. Once the tissue dies and gets infected, that’s what causes the symptoms.”
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