The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning about high-powered, ball-bearing magnets used in adult products.*
Reports indicate that magnets such as these continue to be a particular danger to children who intentionally or inadvertently swallow the magnets.
Since 2009, CPSC has been receiving an increasing number of reports of incidents involving children between the ages of 18 months and 15 years — a single incident in 2009, seven in 2010, and 14 through October 2011. In 11 incidents, the magnets had to be removed by surgery.
There are reports of toddlers finding loose pieces of magnets or magnets left within reach. With tweens and teenagers, the magnets are usually inhaled and swallowed unintentionally. For example, the child will use the magnets to mimic body piercings and end up swallowing one or both magnets.
Although the risk scenarios differ by age group, the danger is the same. When two or more magnets are swallowed, they can attract one another internally, resulting in serious injuries such as small holes in the stomach and intestines, intestinal blockage, blood poisoning, and even death.
Consumers who have purchased magnet sets for children younger than 14 years of age or households with children under 14 years of age are advised to remove access to the sets by children immediately and contact the manufacturing firm for a refund.
Visit the CPCS site for tips on how to avoid magnet ingestion injuries and advice on what to do if you suspect that your child has swallowed magnets.
Additional photos and video for kids are on the CPCS Blogger site.
*CPSC’s has issued safety alerts previously about the dangers of powerful magnets falling out of children’s toys.