“When swallowed these desk toy magnets go through the normal digestion process, with one exception,” says , attending physician in the emergency department and co-author of a . “Once in the intestines, the individually swallowed magnets have a strong enough pull to reconnect inside the child’s body, often pinching, tearing and boring their way through intestinal tissue in the process. The only way to treat this problem is with surgery to remove the magnets and repair the damaged intestines.”
Building sets and other toys containing magnets pose a substantial hazard to children who commonly mouth objects. Manufacturers of any consumer product containing magnets should take precautions to keep the magnets in their intended positions within plastic pieces and should consider making larger plastic pieces to minimize the likelihood of ingestion. Similar injuries have resulted from ingestion of magnetic beads, jewelry, and homeopathic aids ().