On Thursday, November 10, 2011 the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about the growing problem posed by high-powered magnets and the risk they may pose to children. According to the Washington Post, the CPSC has received 14 reports of injuries to children ranging from 18 months to 15 years old in 2011 alone. This is up from 7 reports in 2010.
The magnets at issue are tiny, but powerful ball-bearing magnets that children sometimes swallow. The CPSC says that when two or more of the little magnets are swallowed, they can attract one another inside the digestive tract and cause serious injuries such as small holes in the stomach or intestines, intestinal blockage and blood poisoning.
Parents should know that symptoms of swallowing these magnets can mimic those of a cold or the flu. If you believe your child may have swallowed a magnet or a battery, please inform your child's healtcare provider immediately so they may complete proper diagnostic tests such as x-rays to look for a blockage.