Study: Kids’ Injuries From Swallowing Magnets Increasing

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – A new study has found that the number of children who have suffered a serious injury after swallowing a magnet has increased.

Researchers examined over 2,700 emergency room visits for foreign body ingestion at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada from April 2002 through December 2012.

The children in the study were under 18-years-old and had a confirmed or suspected magnet ingestion. Researchers identified 94 children who met their criteria and 30 of those children had confirmed ingestion of more than one magnet.

“We chose to limit our scope to the alimentary tract because the majority of serious harm from magnets arises from perforations and fistulae of the stomach, small bowel and colon,” study leader Dr. Matt Strickland said in a journal news release.

Researchers found that the overall magnet ingestions tripled after smaller, spherical magnetic sets were introduced in children’s toy in 2009. They also found that the number of injuries involving multiple magnets was roughly 10 times higher after 2009.

Six children who ingested magnets needed surgery for sepsis or potential for imminent bowl perforation, researchers noted.

“The increased number of high-risk injuries featuring multiple, smaller magnets is “concerning,” Strickland said.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention notes that “the ingestion of nonfood objects, inadvertently or intentionally, is common among young children and also occurs with older children and adolescents.”

The findings are scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics.


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