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Date of last update: 9/9/2017.

Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: 19 mo old son may have swallowed a single Magnetix

 StarShine3 - Sun Oct 28, 2007 3:35 pm

My 19 month old son may have swallowed a 1 inch long by 1/4 inch around plastic toy with a magnet inside. Poison control told me to watch for gastrointestinal symptoms and that it should pass through and we should take him in for an x-ray tomorrow. I am concerned about waiting. Should I take him in right away? Also, do magnets pose a lead-poisoning or other risk? Thank you for your prompt reply.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sun Oct 28, 2007 7:18 pm

User avatar Hi StarShine3,

Magnets can be dangerous if swallowed for the following reason. If more than one magnet or a magnet and a metal object are swallowed they may magnetically stick together in the GI tract. When this happens they may pinch the bowel or even become attached through two separate areas of bowel causing the bowel to become smashed. This smashing can cut off blood flow to the area and lead to potentially serious/life threatening situations. There is at least one case of death reported from this.

If is was for certain only a single magnet and nothing else it should pass just fine. If there is a chance that there was more than one magnet or another metal object swallowed I would recommend taking the child for an x-ray as soon as possible.

If you are certain it was only one magnet and nothing else that may have been swallowed it is reasonable to wait until tomorrow to get an x-ray.

Best wishes.

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