The serious injury risk children face from small magnetic toys is highlighted in a recent case study, which details an 11 year old who needed surgery after two powerful magnets attracted inside of his nose.
In a report published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors explain how the European boy had to undergo emergency surgery to remove the magnets from his naval cavity.
The child was reportedly playing with two small magnetized disks, which he ultimately wedged into each side of his nostrils. Shortly after, the child began to experience serious discomfort and pain as the magnets began to attract across his naval cavity, causing severe pain and nose bleeds.
Treating physicians indicate that as the two magnetized disks began to attract towards one another across the naval cavity, they were compressing the tissue which in time could lead to the death of the tissue and even perforation of the septum.
In the emergency room, doctors attempted to remove the magnets manually without surgery. However, the magnets were so powerfully attracted that the child was taken to the operating room, where surgeons had to put the child under general anesthesia and use additional magnets placed outside of the nose to counteract the pull of the internal magnets.
According to the report, the operation successfully treated the magnet injury and the child is recovering. However, he did suffer damage to his nasal cartilage and was required to wear special splints for at least ten days.
The case study highlights the dangers small magnetized toys can pose to infants and children who are known for inserting small objects into their mouths or other parts of the body. Previously reported magnet injuries have included children requiring bowel surgery to remove the small magnetized devices after they have attracted to one another in the stomach causing intestinal perforation.
Small magnetized toys have gained national attention over the years, resulting in the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) setting rules to effectively ban powerful rare-earth magnet sets, which were sold as desk accessories and have 37 times for strength than a normal magnet.
The toy magnet safety rules, enacted in October 2014, came after several battles with manufacturers to get them to recall products after the CPSC determined that warnings provided were insufficient to avoid injuries. One of the magnet manufacturers, Zen Magnets, LLC, protested the new rules, and challenged them in court, which ultimately led to the overturning of the ban.
According to a magnet information center website published by the CPSC, nearly 3,000 children and teenagers swallowed the magnets and had to be treated in emergency rooms nationwide between 2009 and 2013, including the death of a 19-month girl, Annaka Chaffin, after accidentally swallowing the magnets.