Absolutely, magnet-eating children are one of your children.

Absolutely, magnet-eating children are one of your children.Children are still swallowing magnets despite all the warnings, which results in trips to the hospital.You've probably heard that kids should avoid using strong, tiny magnets. Give...

Oct 22, 2023 - 01:00
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Absolutely, magnet-eating children are one of your children.

Absolutely, magnet-eating children are one of your children.

Children are still swallowing magnets despite all the warnings, which results in trips to the hospital.

You've probably heard that kids should avoid using strong, tiny magnets. Given that two neodymium magnets can connect inside a child's body if they are swallowed, you would never give a toddler one of these magnets. However, a recent survey presented to the American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that children are still successfully swallowing them—and at alarming rates.

Pediatrician Minna Wieck stated in a news release from the American Academy of Pediatrics about the results of a new study on magnet-related injuries that "parents almost never think their kid will 'be so dumb as to swallow' magnets.". "However, kids are engaging in this behavior more frequently, despite adult supervision and despite the fact that adults are aware that these magnets may be dangerous. And that includes children who you'd think would be old enough to know better.

Why do rare-earth magnets pose such a threat?

Rare-earth magnets are the ones that doctors are most concerned about. On the periodic table, "rare earth" elements like neodymium are used to make these.

Rare-earth magnets can be produced in incredibly small sizes because of their strength, which is much greater than that of a typical refrigerator magnet. This indicates that they are simple to ingest (or otherwise enter the body—you know toddlers) and that, once inside, they are powerful enough to cause significant harm.

Two powerful magnets connected internally to each other can squeeze anything in their path. If two different loops of the small intestine were magnetized and came together, the intestine would be compressed in between.

Some children who sustained this kind of injury required surgery, and it also resulted in a number of fatalities. Magnet injuries aren't getting any better despite warnings. According to the CPSC, from 2010 to 2021, hospital emergency rooms treated 26,600 cases of magnet ingestion, and the number of cases has been increasing since 2018. According to previous AAP reports, more than half of kids who swallow magnets need to be hospitalized and frequently need surgery.

How to determine whether a magnet is hazardous.

Generally speaking, it is more crucial to keep magnets out of your child's reach the smaller they are. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a regulation that applies to toys for children up to the age of 14, and it states that any magnet that is small enough to enter the body must be under 50 kg2mm2—in other words, it can't be a very strong magnet. So, children's toys should be safe. Despite this, the CPSC frequently has to write letters to businesses that don't adhere to the standard. Here is a list of violations involving magnets.

The magnets that appear to be the most problematic are the ones that come in small kits with dozens or hundreds of tiny magnetic balls or shapes. The magnets are strong enough to harm, and they are simple to swallow. You wouldn't consider these kits to be a toy for toddlers because they are advertised toward adults and older children.

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that the issue with sets like this is that there are so many of those tiny balls that you won't notice if a few go missing. Your child may discover one in the carpet before discovering another. (They may also consume one magnet today and another metal object tomorrow. ).

Throughout the years, the laws governing magnet sets have evolved. Magnet ingestion injuries decreased while they were briefly illegal from 2014 to 2016. Then the law was changed, and injuries increased once more. Although many older products are still in use, a new version of the rule went into effect in late 2022.

how to protect children from rare-earth magnets.

It's a crucial safety precaution to tell parents not to give their children rare-earth magnets, but that advice should only be the first of many. If you have young children, the AAP advises either locking up or completely removing high-powered magnets from the home. "Do not use large sets of magnets," is especially important for magnet kits. Knowing if some of them are missing is too difficult. ".

In addition, they advise discussing playing with tiny magnets with older children and teenagers. It's fun to wear the magnets as jewelry by placing one on each side of your tongue, lip, or nose; "magnetic earrings" are even offered for sale for this purpose. However, if they are accidentally swallowed or inhaled (don't laugh, kids have done this), your teenager could end up in the same dangerous situation as a toddler who deliberately ingested magnets.

If your child complains of having a stomachache, think about magnet ingestion as another important precaution. The harm that magnets do to the body can manifest as fever, nausea, and abdominal pain. Go to the hospital for emergency care right away if you believe your child may have swallowed a magnet.


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