2-Year-Old From Florida Swallows 16 Magnets, Ends Up In Hospital

Konin Arrington is hospitalized with short bowel syndrome after he swallowed 16 small magnetic balls that became linked together in his intestine, his mother said. SOURCE: CNN

Boy hospitalised with short bowel syndrome after swallowing 16 magnets.

Magnetic balls found in toys are rare earth magnets, often ten times stronger than ordinary magnets. The magnets are sold in the market under guise for adults, as desk toys, sculptors and stress relievers. However, the magnets are more popular amongst children even though the packaging says that they are not suitable for children under the age of 14. If swallowed, the powerful magnetic attraction causes them to rip through internal organs and join together. According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission, almost 2900 children were treated in emergency rooms from 2009 to 2013. In a similar case, a 2-year-old boy from Florida was hospitalised for swallowing 16 magnets.

The 2-year-old boy swallowed the part of a toy composed of small magnetic balls known as a buckyball. According to his mom, Hannah Arrington, the boy found pieces of the toy after his older siblings brought it home from school. After discovering the toy, the mother of five, knowing how dangerous the toy is, threw it away. However, the damage had already been done. After a while, Konin complained of abdominal pain. Despite scheduling a doctor’s appointment earlier, the parents took him to the emergency so the doctors could rule out anything serious.

Doctors performed an X-ray which revealed a line that “almost looked like a pull chain cord for a fan”.

The findings further showed that the boy had swallowed 16 magnets that were now linked together in his intestines.

The 16 magnets the boy had swallowed had caused holes in his stomach, extending all the way to his colon. He suffered from symptoms of stomach pain, vomiting and appeared pale.

“We got rushed from our local hospital to Arnold Palmer (Hospital for Children),” Arrington said. “He got the surgery done and they took out almost three feet of his small intestine. He also had to get the holes in his stomach repaired, holes in his large intestine repaired, and a part near his colon repaired as well.”

Parents need to be aware that these desk toys are quite risky for children. Swallowing the magnets can cause lifelong health issues and even death. In another recent incident, an older kid swallowed the buckyballs to see if he would become magnetic.

In 2009, the buckyballs became a viral sensation.

Although the toys did not cover any voluntary safety standards for magnetic toys because they were initially being marketed for adults. The toy was further labelled for children 14 years and older. However, despite the labelling, the toys continued to find their way into children’s hands and mouth. In 2011, the CPSC issued public warnings for the “hidden hazards” associated with the toys. In 2012, an agreement was negotiated which led to 10 leading industry manufacturers ceasing the distribution of these magnets. And finally in 2014, the CPSC passed a regulation that banned the distribution of these magnets. Though in 2016 the ban was lifted and the magnets were back in the market. Since then several magnetic ingestions cases have been reported.


A 2-year-old from Florida is hospitalized after complications from swallowing 16 magnetic balls https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/16/us/2-year-old-swallowed-16-magnetic-balls-trnd

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Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.


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