Children and magnets

Children and magnets?

It is a given that children are fascinated with magnets and I know I was when I was a youngster, and I see children today still having fun with them too.

Magnets have become more powerful over time and some studies have shown that some children’s magnetic toys are up to 10 times more powerful these days than a couple of years ago.

Children put things in their mouths and we know they do and small magnets are no different either especially if they are encased in a toy.

We all know what those shiny flat batteries can do to our children if swallowed, I wrote a blog about that a while back here is the link.

In 2019 alone 19 children were admitted to hospital in Belfast alone and one 3 year old had 49 magnets removed from the stomach according to a BBC report at the time 

3 of those 19 children had to have major surgery to have them removed, but not before these magnets had done considerable damage to the intestines and other organs in the body.

This is not just a Northern Ireland, it is becoming a larger problem in many parts of the UK and seems to be growing at an alarming rate too.

Whats happening?

A craze has been spreading across the UK for a while according to recent media articles where children are mimicking tongue and cheek piercings with magnets.

Children are unaware the magnets will stick together going through the gastrointestinal tract which can trigger bowel perforation or intestinal blockage.

One child recently had part of the bowel removed because the magnets were ripping through the stomach wall, and hospitals say this is becoming more commonplace as the fad grows.

These magnets are sold as a creative toy and have been band in other countries but sadly easily available in the UK according to the media.

What is worrying Christmas is only a few weeks away and could quite easily end up in a youngsters Christmas stocking.

Why so powerful

These neodymium magnets are different in composition to the old iron magnet and are produced from mixing iron, boron and neodymium powders and pressed into shapes. These are then magnetised to around 10 times more powerful than a standard iron magnet.


There is nothing new about our children swallowing things and usually will not cause any issues on its journey through the body but you should still take the child to A&E to be checked over to ensure things will be fine.

But with magnets and button batteries things can become life-threatening surprisingly quickly and an urgent trip to A&E is required to obtain the best possible outcome.

We all what our little ones to enjoy their childhoods but accidents happen, would you know how to provide first aid to your child in an emergency situation.

Our Paediatric first aid course is an OFQUAL regulated qualification and you will be pleasantly surprised with the learning outcomes from this course and how you could use these skills in an emergency situation with your children. We can come to you too.