Magnet Ingestions

This episode focuses on high-powered magnet ingestions in children and was a collaboration with Elizabeth Curtis – @egcurtismd and Libby Ireson – @LibbyIreson, two Categorical Pediatrics Residents at Cincinnati Children’s who served as producers and guest hosts. These rare earth magnets were briefly removed from the market because children swallowed them and, when two magnets attracted across opposing loops of bowel, they sustained intestinal injury. Legal machinations led to their reappearance on the market.

This episode is equal parts clinical advice and advocacy in action and will help you discuss these potentially dangerous magnets with families and manage a child in case they swallow one.

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CPSC Safety Alert (2007) “Ingested Magnets Can Cause Serious Intestinal Injuries”   

AAP (2017) “Dangers of Magnetic Toys.”   

Middelberg, L. K., Funk, A. R., Hays, H. L., McKenzie, L. B., Rudolph, B., & Spiller, H. A. (2021). Magnet Injuries in Children: An Analysis of the National Poison Data System From 2008-2019. The Journal of Pediatrics, 0(0). 

Strickland M, Rosenfield D, Fecteau A. Magnetic foreign body injuries: a large pediatric hospital experience. J Pediatr. 2014 Aug;165(2):332-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.04.002. Epub 2014 May 16. PMID: 24836391. 

De Roo AC, Thompson MC, Chounthirath T, Xiang H, Cowles NA, Shmuylovskaya L, Smith GA. Rare-earth magnet ingestion-related injuries among children, 2000-2012. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2013 Nov;52(11):1006-13. doi: 10.1177/0009922813507129. PMID: 24137035. 

Mandhan, P., Alsalihi, M., Mammoo, S., & Ali, M. J. (2014). Troubling toys: rare-earth magnet ingestion in children causing bowel perforations. Case reports in pediatrics, 2014. 

Reeves, P. T., Nylund, C. M., Krishnamurthy, J., Noel, R. A., & Abbas, M. I. (2018). Trends of magnet ingestion in children, an ironic attraction. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, 66(5), e116-e121. 

Spiller, H. (2019) “The Dangers of Magnet Toys.” Nationwide Children’s Hospital

By bradsobo

Brad Sobolewski, MD, MEd is a Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and an Associate Director for the Pediatric Residency Training Program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He is on Twitter @PEMTweets and authors the Pediatric Emergency Medicine site PEMBlog and produces and hosts the PEM Currents: The Pediatric Emergency Medicine Podcast.

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