High-powered magnets continue to be a safety risk to children, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC reports that an increasing number of incident reports show children ranging from toddlers to teens are swallowing these magnets with dangerous and severe consequences. Since 2009, the number of dangerous incidents has risen steadily, increasing from one to seven in 2010, and doubling to 14 through October.
When two or more magnets are swallowed, they can attract and try to connect in the child’s stomach and result in serious injuries such as small holes the intestines and stomach, intestinal blockage, blood poisoning and death.
Because the super-strong magnets are small enough that they can easily be swallowed, they are prohibited from being used in toys for children younger than 14. However, they are marketed as stress-reliever desk toys for office environments and often have a couple hundred magnets in a set. They are sold at office supply, stationery and gift stores as well as on the Internet on many sites. Costs start around $30. Some name brands are Nanospheres, Buckyballs, Neocubes, Nanodots or Zen Magnets.
The problem with these ball-bearing magnets is that young children find these on home office desks or the floor and swallow them. To make the problem worse, parents might not notice that one or two of the tiny pieces are missing from their set — so the child has dangerous magnets in their stomach causing serious problems for a days or even weeks before an x-ray can reveal the problem.
For tweens and teenagers, the problem is typically accidental ingestion or inhaling. Teen place a magnet on opposite sides of their earlobes, tongue or nose, so it looks like a piercing but is actually two magnets. The magnets are then accidentally swallowed or inhaled.
Parents with young children should:
- Keep small magnets away from young children who might swallow them. Remember to check your refrigerator as well as desk toys.
- Regularly inspect children’s toys for missing, loose or broken magnets.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you believe a child has swallowed a magnet. Watch for unexplained abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Remember that in x-rays, two or more magnets may be connected and look like one object.
If your child has been injured due to accidentally swallowing super-magnets — or playing with other items that turned out to be unsafe — you need to contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. The Oklahoma and Arkansas personal injury attorneys at Carr & Carr are experienced in helping families of children who have been injured. Email us or call 1-877-392-4878 for a free consultation to discuss your family’s situation. Our attorneys serve clients from our offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Springdale/Northwest Arkansas. We can help you no matter where you live.