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23rd February 2015

Kids and magnets: the dangers of attraction

It appears that many kids have a refined palate for cold, iron-tasting afternoon snacks known as magnets. And frankly it’s understandable – those colourful pieces of construction marvelousness look remarkably like candy.

Children often lament stomach pains and tummy troubles and most of the time this discomfort just simply goes away. But sometimes it doesn’t…because sometimes kids swallow stuff, like hairclips or even worse, magnets.

Magnets, if ingested in pairs, can attract inside the intestine, causing damage to the linings. In the US alone, there have been over 22,500 cases of injuries from magnet ingestion between 2001 and 2011 – that’s over 6 cases a day. Whether via nose or mouth, a rather large number of magnets per year end up in children’s bodies.

Caption: An X-ray of 8-year old Hailey after swallowing over 30 magnets (Credit: CBS early show)

The solution is simple – a quick x-ray scan can determine whether nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain are caused by one of your regular school-day bugs, or whether small metal balls lie inside the child’s stomach.Take a minute to watch the story of Hailey, who, at age 8, ingested over 30 magnets from her kiddy toys.

So while anyone who didn’t spend their childhood playing with the likes of Magnetik, Geomags or Magnamags may have lost out on fun, they may have gained in health.


Caption: What we’d all prefer NOT to happen inside our child’s intestines (Credit:

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