NHS calls for ban on small magnetic toys due to risk to children

NHS calls for ban on small magnetic toys due to risk to children

05/29/2021

NHS calls for ban on small magnetic toys after dozens of children who swallowed them needed urgent surgery

  • Ingesting more than one magnet can cause major damage in hours if not removed 
  • They fuse in intestines or bowels, squeezing tissue and cutting off blood supply
  • At least 65 children have been admitted to hospital for urgent surgery in England after swallowing magnets in the past three years

A ban on small magnetic toys is being called for by the NHS after dozens of children swallowed them and needed life-saving surgery.

Ingesting more than one magnet can cause significant damage in hours if not removed. 

They fuse in the intestines or bowels, squeezing tissue and cutting off blood supply.

At least 65 children have been admitted to hospital for urgent surgery in England after swallowing magnets in the past three years. 

A ban on small magnetic toys is being called for by the NHS after dozens of children swallowed them and needed life-saving surgery. Ingesting more than one magnet can cause significant damage in hours if not removed. (File image)

The NHS has issued a national patient safety alert advising every hospital and GP that these cases should be treated as an emergency.

Professor Simon Kenny, NHS England national clinical director for children and young people, said: ‘Magnets are a source of fascination for children, and magnetic toys can look like a cheap and cheerful way of occupying the kids, but ultimately they aren’t safe and shouldn’t be for sale.’

It comes as a trend on video-sharing app TikTok sees teenagers using magnetic balls as fake piercings on either side of their tongue. 

This has led to a rise in hospital admissions among older children as some swallow the balls. 

Katrina Phillips, of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, warned parents: ‘If magnets don’t meet safety standards, they may be super strong and potentially life-threatening.’

At least 65 children have been admitted to hospital for urgent surgery in England after swallowing magnets in the past three years. The NHS has issued a national patient safety alert advising every hospital and GP that these cases should be treated as an emergency

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