The common item causing devastating injuries to kids

·2-min read

Experts are urging parents to be careful of giving their kids gifts containing magnets ahead of the festive season, warning they can lead to devastating injuries.

The warning comes as surgeons in the UK call for schools to ban magnets and after an increase in kids requiring hospitalisation after swallowing them.

In September, the BBC reported a nine-year-old boy had required major surgery — resulting in him needing his appendix, small bowel, and 30cm of his large bowel removed — after he swallowed multiple tiny magnets.

Close up of tiny ball magnets and people playing with them.
The magnetic balls are banned in Australian stores. Source: Getty

According to Insider, there has been an increase in children swallowing magnets after seeing TikTokers place small ball magnets on their tongues to look like piercings as a part of a challenge. Other TikTok videos encourage using the magnets to make shapes.

The publication reported that 65 children in the UK have required urgent surgery after swallowing magnets in the last three years.

Although the balls specifically are banned in Australia, small magnets — such as the ones used to make fridge magnets— are available and often in households.

Seek medical help immediately

According to Product Safety Australia, internal injuries from small magnets have been likened in severity to a gunshot wound. The magnets may also pose a choking hazard to young children.

"There is a permanent ban on the supply to Australian consumers of certain small high powered magnets," the website reads.

"This applies to both Australian and overseas based suppliers."

A spokesperson from CPR Kids told Yahoo News Australia the concern with magnets —in particular the high powered type — is that if a child swallows more than one magnet, or potentially one magnet and a metal object, they will attract each other in the digestive tract.

"This can cause damage to the body tissues that may get caught up, which can result in serious trauma, bleeding, obstruction or infection. It is a medical emergency," she explained.

"If you suspect your child has swallowed magnets, seek urgent medical help. They will need an x-ray to determine what they have swallowed, and emergency surgery may be needed.

"Always buy toys that are recommended for your child’s age, and if you have older children ensure that they put away all toys away safely out of reach of younger siblings."

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