Small toy, big danger… Two serious cases of accidental ingestion of magnetic balls of 3 to 5 millimeters have been reported recently. Each time, it was a child of 3 years or less.
The incriminated magnetic balls came from “anti-stress” objects intended for adults. They can also be construction games for the youngest, but on the packaging, it is then clearly stated that they are only for 14 years and over. By assembling them, they can thus compose cubes, stars or even animals.
Problem: they can be accidentally ingested by the little ones. And the risk is far from benign: “The magnetic beads ingested can agglomerate, obstruct the digestive tract and tear the intestinal walls causing perforations, warns the Directorate General of Health. They are notably more dangerous than inert objects of the same dimensions (glass balls, coins). The most serious cases require heavy surgery and can be life-threatening in children. “
124 balls swallowed and two hours of intervention
La Dépêche du Midi cited the case of a boy who had swallowed 124 marbles, over several days and out of his parents’ sight: “They were all in the stomach. The endoscopy was very complicated, it took more than two hours of intervention, ”testified the doctor from Toulouse who operated on him.
To avoid this, just one recommendation to apply scrupulously: “Objects containing magnetic balls should be strictly kept out of the reach of children, who could in particular confuse them with candy and swallow them. “
In case of fear of ingestion, even without certainty, the authorities indicate what to do without delay: “Immediately call a poison control center who will give you medical advice and what to do … And in the event of a vital emergency, call 15 or 112. “
To find the nearest Poison Control Center: centers-antipoison.net
Support a professional editorial staff at the service of Brittany and the Bretons: subscribe from € 1 per month.