High-powered magnet safety every parent needs to know

High-powered magnet safety every parent needs to know

Shiny and tiny magnetic balls may seem like the perfect desk accessory for your at-home-office but can pose a great risk to your child.

The rare-earth toy magnets that are marketed under the names of DigitDots, Zen Magnets, Neoballs and Buckyballs are composed of tiny, high powered magnetic balls or cubes, some smaller than the tip of ballpoint pen. The shiny and colorful pieces can be up to 30 times stronger than a kitchen magnet. These sets can be contorted into fun and interesting shapes making it an attractive fidget toy for all ages.

However, if these magnets are ingested it can pose a great risk to the digestive system. If two or more magnets are digested, they will attract to each other across tissue, cutting off blood supply and causing serious tissue damage that can lead to serious infections, lifelong digestive disorders or in some cases death.


Children who swallow high-powered magnets may not have symptoms at first but often develop symptoms such as stomach pain and vomiting. If you suspect that your child has ingested high-power magnets, go to the emergency department of your nearest children’s hospital and make sure the health care provider knows a high-powered magnet may have been swallowed.

As a parent, you can prevent high-powered magnet injuries by keeping these magnets out of the home. Please keep in mind that teens may use these types of magnets to mimic the use of a tongue ring. It is important to educate your children and teens about the risks of swallowing these types of magnets.

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