Did you know that magnets can kill children?

Did you know that magnets can kill children?

Children and magnets?

It goes without saying that children are fascinated by magnets; I know I was when I was a child, and I see children today are still having fun with them.

Over time, magnets have gotten stronger and stronger; some children’s magnetic toys are up to 10 times stronger now than they were just a few years ago. Children always put things in their mouths, and tiny magnets are no exception, especially if they are enclosed in their favourite toy.

However, if a child swallows a magnet or button battery, which power a lot of children’s toys, the result could be fatal.

I wrote a blog about that a little while back; here is the link.

This is not just a problem in Northern Ireland; it is spreading throughout the UK and appears to be growing at an alarming rate. In 2019, 19 children were admitted to the hospital in Belfast alone, and one 3-year-old had 49 magnets. Yes, you read that right—49 magnets that needed to be removed from the child’s stomach, according to the BBC report at the time.

3 of the 19 children required major surgery to remove magnets, but not before they had caused significant damage to their intestines and other vital organs in their bodies.

children and magnets

Whats happening?

Since many adults today have various facial piercings, it is understandable that children would not be aware of the potential damage that a pair of magnets going through the gastrointestinal tract can cause.

This can trigger bowel perforation or intestinal blockage, which can be fatal if not detected and removed quickly.

One child recently had part of their bowel removed because magnets were ripping through the stomach wall. This craze has been rapidly spreading throughout the UK for some time. Recent media articles say that children have been mimicking tongue and cheek piercing with magnets.

These magnets, which are marketed as educational toys and are banned in other countries, are regrettably readily accessible in the UK, according to the media.

Why so powerful

These neodymium magnets are very different in composition from the old-style iron magnet I remembered from my childhood, and these magnets are produced by mixing iron, boron, and neodymium powders and then pressing them into various shapes to fit into the toys.


Everybody wants their children to enjoy their childhoods, but accidents happen. Would you know how to treat your child in an emergency first-aid situation?

Although swallowed objects by children are nothing new and typically do not cause problems during their journey through the body, you should still take the child to A&E to be checked over to make sure everything is fine.

However, with magnets and button batteries, things can become very life-threatening very quickly, and an urgent trip to A&E is required to obtain the best possible outcome.

Our paediatric first aid course is OFQUAL-regulated, Qualifications Network UK accredited and meets DfE and EYFS guidelines. You can come to our open courses in Rugby, and we can come to you as well on your site.

The learning outcomes from this course and how you could apply them in an emergency first aid situation with your children will pleasantly surprise you.

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