Reports of incidents involving these high-powered ball-bearing magnets have increased since 2009. Specifically, CPSC received one incident report in 2009, seven in 2010 and 14 through October 2011. These 22 incidents have involved children ranging in age from 18 months to 15 years old. Of the reported incidents, 17 involved magnet ingestion and 11 required surgical removal of the magnets. When a magnet has to be removed surgically, it often requires the repair of the child’s damaged stomach and intestines.
In an effort to reduce the incidents associated with magnets, CPSC staff worked with the toy industry and other stakeholders to develop a standard to prevent magnets from detaching from toys. As of 2008, this standard is mandatory. It prohibits magnets and magnet components that are loose and of a size that could be swallowed from being in toys for children under 14 years of age. Based on the number of incidents involving young children accessing magnets intended for adults, as well as the growing number of teenagers misusing the product, CPSC again has been prompted to launch a magnet awareness campaign. This multipronged initiative includes a grassroots effort with public safety partners, public service videos targeted for parents and teenagers, along with social media outreach. CPSC is warning parents and medical professionals about the extreme danger facing children who swallow multiple magnets.
CPSC offers the following tips to avoid magnet ingestion injuries and advice on what to do if you suspect that your child has swallowed magnets: Keep small magnets away from young children who might swallow them. Look out for loose magnet pieces – and regularly inspect toys and children’s play areas for missing or dislodged magnets. If you suspect that magnets have been swallowed, seek medical attention immediately. Look for abdominal symptoms, such as abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Note that in x-rays multiple magnetic pieces may appear as a single object.
Source: USA Today
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