Supermagnets present ongoing child health risks

October 27, 2013, American Academy of Pediatrics

The continued sale and availability of powerful, neodymium magnets—typically 10 to 20 times stronger than traditional magnets— are causing an increase in pediatric ingestion-related injuries, according to an abstract presented Sunday, Oct. 27, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando.

Neodymium-iron-boron, or "super" magnets, became available in the early 2000s in , jewelry and other novelty items. In the late 2000s, they exploded in popularity in the form of novelty desk toys aimed at adults. In 2012, the U.S. Consumer Production Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the future sale and issued a product recall of supermagnet desk toys. This came in the wake of several multiple magnet ingestions that resulted in numerous cases of pediatric bowel perforation, sepsis and even the death of one child. While supermagnet toys are no longer marketed to small children in the U.S., they remain available online, and can still be found in adult desktop toys and other products bought before the recall. Canada has recently implemented a mandatory recall on some of these products and also banned their sale.

In the abstract, "Supermagnet Ingestion—an Emerging Pediatric Threat," Canadian researchers sought to determine the frequency of magnet-related injuries in at a major, urban medical center.

Researchers reviewed data on all foreign body ingestions in children ages birth to 18 years who were treated at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) from April 1, 2001, to Dec. 21, 2012. Out of over 2,700 ingestions over a 10-year-period, 94 involved magnets. Although the first recorded magnet occurred in 2004, the data shows a significant increase in both single and multiple magnet ingestion, with multiple magnet ingestion increasing the most in the last three years of the study. The age of patients ranged from 7 months to 13 years with a mean age of 4.5 years. Sixty-five percent were boys, compared with 35 percent girls.

The magnets were removed surgically in six patients, and endoscopically in 10 patients. No deaths were reported.

"The research we're presenting at the AAP conference confirms what we've suspected," said study co-author Daniel Rosenfield, MD, "that the ingestion of these dangerous toys has been increasing, and spiking over the past three years. What we're seeing is really an epidemic driven by a new technology. These new magnets are vastly more powerful, smaller in size, and seem innocuous. Parents just aren't aware of the potential danger."

"Parents, teachers, physicians and the general public need to be made aware of the potential dangers, and assure that these toys are kept away from children," Dr. Rosenfield said. "We applaud governmental bodies in the U.S. and abroad for taking a strong stance in removing these products from the market."

Explore further: Magnet ingestion by young children serious and growing problem

More information: "Supermagnet Ingestion—An Emerging Pediatric Threat," aap.confex.com/aap/2013/webpro … ress/Paper22999.html

Related Stories

Magnet ingestion by young children serious and growing problem

March 11, 2013
Physicians and parents must be aware of the growing danger of magnet ingestion by children because magnets can adhere to each other and cause life-threatening problems such as bowel perforations, a new case study illustrates ...

Children and magnets have a dangerous attraction, end up in the ER

August 7, 2013
Cases involving children ingesting magnets quintupled between 2002 and 2011, with ingestion of multiple magnets generally resulting in more serious outcomes, including emergency surgery. The results of a study documenting ...

New research identifies risks, interventions for children's GI health

May 18, 2013
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).

Warning to parents over magnet danger to children

June 21, 2012
Doctors are asking parents to take extra care that their children do not swallow small magnets from toys, after two children required surgical intervention following ingestion of such small magnets. In a letter to the Lancet, ...

Magnet ingestion injuries on the rise among children

November 20, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—With many new toys hitting store shelves this holiday season, there is a lot to consider when picking the perfect gift for a child. While young ones may be creating their wish lists with a focus on the ...

Recommended for you

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

NeuroNext biomarker study explores natural history of infantile-onset SMA

January 9, 2018
Research led by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to define the natural history of infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) has been "critical" to accelerate the development of effective therapies and hasten ...

No link between childhood lead levels, later criminality

December 27, 2017
(HealthDay)— Exposure to higher levels of lead during early childhood can affect neurological development—but does that mean affected kids are doomed to delinquency?

Early puberty in girls may take mental health toll

December 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—A girl who gets her first menstrual period early in life—possibly as young as 7—has a greater risk for developing depression and antisocial behaviors that last at least into her 20s, a new study suggests.

Technology not taking over children's lives despite screen-time increase

December 21, 2017
With children spending increasing amounts of time on screen-based devices, there is a common perception that technology is taking over their lives, to the detriment and exclusion of other activities. However, new Oxford University ...

Higher blood sugar in early pregnancy raises baby's heart-defect risk

December 15, 2017
Higher blood sugar early in pregnancy raises the baby's risk of a congenital heart defect, even among mothers who do not have diabetes, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.