Monday, August 12th, 2013
The number of children who went to the emergency room or were treated elsewhere because they had swallowed magnets–a highly dangerous situation that can lead to emergency surgery–quintupled between the years 2002 and 2011, according to a new study published online in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine. More from ScienceDaily.com:
“It is common for children to put things in their mouth and nose, but the risk of intestinal damage increases dramatically when multiple magnets are swallowed,” said lead study author Jonathan Silverman, MD, of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash. “The ingestion of multiple magnets can severely damage intestinal walls to the point that some kids need surgery. The magnets in question were typically those found in kitchen gadgets or desk toys marketed to adults but irresistible to children.”
Over a 10-year period, 22,581 magnetic foreign body injuries were reported among children. Between 2002 and 2003, incidence of injury was 0.57 cases per 100,000 children; between 2010 and 2011, that jumped to 3.06 cases per year out of 100,000 children. The majority of the cases occurred in 2007 or later.
In cases where children ingested multiple magnets, 15.7 percent were admitted to the hospital (versus 2.3 percent of single magnet ingestions). Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of magnets were swallowed; twenty-one percent were ingested through the nose. Nearly one-quarter (23.4 percent) of the case reports described the magnets as “tiny,” or other variants on the word “small.”
Image: Magnets, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, July 26th, 2012
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a stop-sale order for Buckyballs, a magnetic stress ball toy that is meant for adults but has caused dangerous health problems in children. The ban is despite efforts by Buckyballs’ efforts to prevent the product from getting into children’s hands; the company’s website still has a statement reading, “A government agency (the Consumer Product Safety Commission) is saying they should be recalled because children occasionally get ahold of them. This is unfair. We market exclusively to adults. We are vigorously defending our right to market these products you love.”
Reuters reports on the CPSC’s decision:
The commission ordered distributor Maxfield and Oberton Holdings of New York to halt sales because injuries to children who had swallowed them had continued to rise, the CPSC said in a complaint.
“Notwithstanding the labeling, warnings and efforts taken by (Maxfield and Oberton), ingestion incidents continued to rise because warnings are ineffective,” the CPSC said. It said the magnets presented a “substantial product hazard.”
Buckyballs are small, powerful round rare earth magnets that are sold as toys and desktop accessories. When children swallow them they can pinch or trap intestines and require surgery to remove, the CPSC said.
Since they went on the market in 2009, numerous incidents involving children have been reported. In January 2011, a 4-year-old boy had his intestine perforated after he swallowed three magnets he thought were chocolate candy, the complaint said.
Although the commission issued a safety alert in November, it has received more than a dozen reports since then of children ingesting the magnets, with many requiring surgery, it said.
Image: Buckyballs, via http://www.ohgizmo.com/
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