Mum's urgent magnet warning after daughter swallows popular toy: 'Like a gunshot wound'

Picture: Facebook
Picture: Facebook 

A mum has issued a warning to other parents over the dangers of 'high powered' magnets after her daughter's harrowing experience.

Hayley Thake's four-year-old daughter Paloma was playing with magnetic balls, a popular kids toy where high powered balls, around 5mm in size, stick together to create shapes, when she accidently swallowed two while tying to 'bite them' apart.

"Not a post I ever thought I'd write, but I want to warn other parents of the dangers of magnets," Thake wrote in a Facebook post detailing their experience.

"She's just undergone surgery to remove them from her bowel. Once inside the body the magnets connect to each other with the organ tissue/lining being pinched in between, eventually burning a hole in it," she continued.

"Luckily my daughter told me she had swallowed them so were able to act quickly. Please, please I urge all parents if you have these magnet beads throw them away immediately."

Thake, from the UK, said there was another child on their hospital ward, aged two, who had swallowed 14 of the balls and medical staff had told her they regularly see children injured by the toy.

As well as Orbeez balls, which are small beads made of acrylic acid, sodium hydroxide, and water which expand when added to water - and swell inside the body if swallowed.  

Toy danger / hazard warning ⚠️ Not a post I ever thought I’d write, but I want to warn other parents of the dangers of...

Posted by Hayley Thake on  Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Her post has been shared more than 24,000 times, with many parents saying they too had been unaware of the dangers. 

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"Thank you for sharing. My son has this and is constantly biting them. I have just removed them. Hope your daughter has a speedy recovery," wrote one.

"Oh my god  ... Leo was playing with them tonight and is terrible for putting things in his mouth, am going to talk to him now.. have to make sure Hugo doesn't get them too," added another.

Last year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued a ban on the products after reports of injuries to children, recalling a number of products which had been for sale.

The consumer watchdog likened the severity of injuries to that of a 'gunshot wound'. 

"If a child swallows more than one small high powered magnet, the magnets can stick together across the walls of the child's intestine or other digestive tissue, which can lead to internal injuries and even death," they warned.

"These internal injuries have been likened in severity to a gunshot wound. The magnets may also pose a choking hazard to young children."

The ban on certain high powered magnets applies to products bought both in Australia and those imported from overseas. 

The ACCC has warned consumers exercise 'extreme caution' when buying magnetic balls which are: 

  • Approximately 5 mm in diameter
  • Sold in cubes with 216 or 512 pieces
  • Silver or brightly coloured
  • Known or marketed as:
  • rare earth magnets
  • neodymium magnets
  • Neo magnets
  • NIB magnets
  • NdFeB magnets.