Small High-Powered Magnets: A Very Serious Hazard to Children

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Small high-powered magnets swallowed by children are like a bullet hole in the body with no entry or exit wound, say doctors who have surgically removed magnets from children’s bodies.

When these individual magnets are ingested, they connect inside the body. The bonds are so strong that the magnets clamp digestive organ tissue together and tear holes at the contact points. The resulting injuries are horrific and life-altering. The surgeries to remove the magnets are time consuming and expensive.

High-powered magnets that connect in a child’s body are a serious injury, or even a death, waiting to happen. We are not willing to stand back and wait for these incidents to keep occurring before acting.

Doctors say that time is of the essence when treating these injuries. Yet, the symptoms can be vague—typical of a stomach virus. Unless you KNOW that a child has swallowed magnets, you might think your child has a stomach bug.

A marble, a coin and other small nonmagnetic things can pass through a child’s body. A doctor’s plan when a child swallows something is typically to watch and wait. This approach often works for nonmagnetic products. In the case of high-powered magnets, however, watch and wait can be life-altering. Watch and wait means that the injury has time to worsen.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has alerted pediatricians to the dangers of magnet ingestions. And the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition issued an alert and podcast series for doctors about the “dangers of neodymium magnet ingestion in pediatric patients.” Texas pediatric gastroenterologist Bryan Vartabedian, writes in his blog that emerging data from doctors shows that the number of cases have been under-reported.

We encourage everyone to read the information on our magnet information page. Watch the video. Keep these magnets away from all children and out of homes with children.

(Watch on YouTube.)

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