LocalSYR

Health Alert: Small magnets can be dangerous for kids

Small, high-powered magnet sets are becoming more and more dangerous for children. Locally, doctors have treated three kids in the past year who have swallowed magnets and had to have extensive surgery to repair their stomachs.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Small, high-powered magnet sets are becoming more and more dangerous for children.

Locally, doctors have treated three kids in the past year who have swallowed magnets and had to have extensive surgery to repair their stomachs.

The high-powered magnets are marketed as toys or even stress relievers for adults. But if a child swallows just two of them, it can rip through their stomach and cause life-long and sometimes deadly consequences.

One mom NewsChannel 9 spoke to, Nicole Walters, is already getting a head start on her holiday shopping. But one thing that won't be on her list this year: magnets.

At first glance, small magnets may not look dangerous, but for Walters' young daughter Jordan it could cause long-term health problems, or even worse, it could be deadly.

“They would be very dangerous for her and her age, they're in the exploring stage they want to touch everything and put everything in their mouth and that's not something that’s for them,” Walters said.

At Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, Dr. Manoochehr Karjoo is seeing more cases where small children have swallowed the magnets.

“Usually, when the child swallows this [magnet] parents don't know about it and they don't have any symptoms or complaints,” Dr. Karjoo said. That is, until it's too late and major damage is done to their stomach or bowels.

The youngest case the doctor has worked with was a child just two years old. In that child's body the magnets found each other through loops in the intestines and caused tearing in the stomach.

“We have to ask a surgeon to come and open the abdomen, the big area to remove all these magnets,” Dr. Karjoo said.

All of his patients made it through surgery. But it's something no parent wants to even think about, meaning you should think twice about what you keep near your child.
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