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Journal Article


Rosenfield D, Strickland M, Hepburn CM. Paediatr. Child Health (1996) 2015; 20(4): 175-178.


(Copyright © 2015, Canadian Paediatric Society, Publisher Pulsus Group)






In the early 1980s, new discoveries in material science led to the development of neodymium-iron-boron magnets. These rare-earth magnets are 10 to 20 times stronger than traditional ferrite (ie, fridge) magnets. By the 2000s, these 'supermagnets' were being integrated into a variety of consumer goods including children's toys (1). Toys that incorporated these supermagnets were swiftly removed from the market in 2006, following the death of a toddler who ingested several magnets found within one particular product (2,3). When multiple magnets are swallowed, they can attract one another and link through different loops of bowel, causing pressure necrosis in the wall of the intestine. This can lead to bowel perforation, sepsis and death (4,5). Despite the recalls in 2006, the threat to children's health re-emerged in 2009, in the form of a desk curio comprised of dozens of supermagnets, strategically sold as 'desk toys' for adults. Unfortunately, children who encountered these products often ingested pieces, resulting in a dramatic increase in hospital presentations requiring endoscopy and surgical removal of these multiple magnet ingestions (MMI). In 2012, various governments around the world moved to ban these desk toys. The Canadian government followed suit in June 2013 (Figure 1). The present article highlights how this novel threat was identified and how national-level policy changes were implemented...

Keywords: Multiple magnet ingestion

Language: en


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