Xmas warning after boy ingests 27 magnets

Ed Jackson

The case of a three-year-old boy who needed serious surgery after swallowing 27 tiny fridge magnets is being used to deliver a safety warning to parents these school holidays.

Xander Easton-Price was at a birthday party on the Gold Coast earlier this year when he ingested 27 tiny magnetic beads.

The beads became lodged in his oesophagus and stomach and required surgical removal to prevent serious complications such as a bowel rupture.

Xander spent four days in hospital and his father Matthew - a Gold Coast health theatre technician - hopes their story can prevent another child being hospitalised.

"It can happen in an instant, so I'd encourage Gold Coast families celebrating this Christmas to take a moment to put small objects out of reach of young children," he said.

Gold Coast Health paediatric emergency specialist Christa Bell says there have been 138 children treated in the area's hospitals in 2016 after ingesting a foreign body.

Six of those children required surgery.

Dr Bell said other risks to children included button batteries, such as those found in many children's toys, pills and other medicines, and even dishwashing tablets or powder.

Gold Coast Health has also treated 52 children this year for near-drownings and seven children have spent time in the Intensive Care Unit with head trauma.

"Putting medications in locked storage, supervising kids who are swimming, being wary of dishwashing detergent and household cleaners and keeping button batteries out of reach of little hands are four simple things that families can do to prevent fatal accidents this Christmas," Dr Bell said.