Payton Bushnell, a 3-year old toddler from Portland, Oregon, is in full recovery after undergoing emergency surgery to remove 37 Rare Earth Buckyballs magnets from her intestines.
The toddler’s parents thought Payton Bushnell had the flu when she wasn’t feeling well, but after her symptoms didn’t get better, they took her to the doctor. Doctors took an X-ray of her stomach when they saw a circle.
When the doctors tried to remove it from the toddler’s stomach, they then realized what they were dealing with and it wasn’t a bracelet. It was 37-high powered Buckyballs magnets that are meant for adults.
Sandy Nipper, R.N., from Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel’s Safety Store said, “In all the research I have done, I have never seen any child swallow more than 10 magnets.”
The doctors were able to remove the magnets during an invasive surgical procedure. By the time Payton Bushnell had surgery, the magnets had already damaged her lower intestine and ripped a small hole in her stomach, but they were able to repair the tears and holes in surgery.
Kelli Bushnell, Payton’s mother said, “I’m thinking that she kind of put two and two together and thought these look like what we put on Christmas cookies. If we had any idea what those magnets could have done to our daughter’s intestines I would have never had them in our house.”
On the Buckyballs website they state: “Buckyballs & Buckycubes are for adults only and must be kept away from all children under the age of 14. Buckyballs & Buckycubes are dangerous for kids because swallowed magnets can stick to intestines causing serious injury or death. Magnets should not be put in the nose or mouth. Buckyballs should never be used as tongue or nose rings as they can be accidentally swallowed.”
The company Buckyballs heard about the 3-year swallowing the magnets and posted on their website: “Buckyballs was saddened to learn that a 3-year old girl in Oregon had swallowed high-powered magnets, but we are relieved that she is expected to make a full recovery. This unfortunate incident underscores the fact that Buckyballs and Buckycubes are for adults. They are not toys and are not intended for children. We urge all consumers to read and comply with the warnings we place on all our products, on our website and in stores. Please keep these products out of the hands and reach of all children.”
Consumer Product Safety Commission has received 22 reports of magnet incidents involving children between the ages of 18 months and 15 years old since June 2009. In 11 incidents, the magnets had to be removed by surgery. Reports of incidents have increased since 2009. CPSC has reports of a single incident in 2009, seven in 2010 and 14 through October 2011.
Doctors say that if swallowed, magnets can cause symptoms such as pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
The rare-earth magnets are not intended to be used to mimic teenage body piercings. What you can do to avoid a magnet swallowing injury:
- Keep small magnets and small pieces containing magnets away from young children who might swallow them.
- Look out for loose magnet pieces – regularly inspect toys and children’s play areas for missing or dislodged magnets.
If you suspect that magnets have been swallowed:
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Look for abdominal symptoms such as abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Note that in X-rays, multiple magnetic pieces may appear as a single object.