High-Powered Magnets a Safety Risk to Children, CPSC Says

November 12, 2011 Updated Nov 12, 2011 at 1:28 PM EDT

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High-Powered Magnets a Safety Risk to Children, CPSC Says

November 12, 2011 Updated Nov 12, 2011 at 1:28 PM EDT

A news release issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission this week reports high-powered magnets continue to be a safety risk to children. From toddlers to teens, children are swallowing these magnets and the consequences are severe.

According to CPSC news release:

When two or more magnets are swallowed, they can attract one another internally, resulting in serious injuries, such as small holes in the stomach and intestines, intestinal blockage, blood poisoning and even death.

Reports of incidents involving these high-powered ball-bearing magnets have increased since 2009. Specifically, CPSC received one incident report in 2009, seven in 2010 and 14 through October 2011. These 22 incidents have involved children ranging in age from 18 months to 15 years old. Of the reported incidents, 17 involved magnet ingestion and 11 required surgical removal of the magnets. When a magnet has to be removed surgically, it often requires the repair of the child's damaged stomach and intestines.

"We want parents to be aware of the danger associated with these innocent looking magnets," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "The potential for serious injury and death if multiple magnets are swallowed demands that parents and medical professionals be aware of this hidden hazard and know how to treat a child in distress."

Read the entire CPSC news release HERE.