Magnets pose a unique risk. If a child swallows more than one magnet, they can attach to each other through the intestinal wall. The tissue between the magnets will likely lose its blood supply causing serious damage such as the death of bowel tissue or holes within the bowel. If left untreated the child can suffer from serious internal infections which can be fatal. To prevent this disastrous outcome, the magnets will need to be surgically removed and often the child will lose a section of their intestines.
Symptoms of swallowed magnets may only show up several days later and may include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pains.
The small, powerful magnets that are of concern are found in toys, novelty jewelry items, and other house-hold items. While young children are most at risk of swallowing small magnets due to their tendency to put things in their mouths, magnetic jewelry is of concern in older children as they have tried to mimic tongue piercings and inadvertently swallowed the magnets.
If swallowed, small magnets can attach to each other through the intestinal wall causing serious internal damage.
- Keep products with small magnets out of reach of young children.
- Teach all children to never place any object with a magnet into their mouths.
- Seek immediate medical care for any child who has swallowed or is suspected to have swallowed one or more magnets.