Parents: Watch Out For Small Magnets

Being the father of a child with autism I’m always on my guard against potential hazards, maybe more-so than normal parents. Here’s an article from over at the Science Blog that gives parents a new reason to worry, small magnets.

Evidently the magnets can come from any number of household items and toys may cause perforations in the bowel, intestine, and stomach.

Science Blog: “Swallowing foreign objects is a common occurrence among children, primarily between the ages of 6 months and 3 years. Approximately 80 percent of the objects that reach the stomach will pass through the gastrointestinal tract on their own. However, up to 20 percent will need to be removed surgically. While a single swallowed magnet may pass, in many instances, multiple magnets will become lodged in the intestines.

Dr. Oestreich wrote the letter to Radiology after a 12-year-old autistic boy was admitted to CCHMC with abdominal pain. Abdominal x-rays revealed multiple objects with metallic density throughout the small intestine and possibly the large intestine. The next day, surgeons removed a large number of small magnets that had been part of a toy. The magnets caused several areas of small bowel necrosis and local perforation.”

Wow! That’s enough to scare any parent. Everyone grab all those little plastic letters your kids love to stick all over the refrigerator and throw them in the trash.