Florida boy, 2, hospitalized after swallowing 16 magnetic balls

·2 min read

A 2-year-old boy was put on a feeding tube after undergoing surgery for swallowing 16 magnetic balls, his mother said.

The toddler was taken to the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital on May 18 after ingesting Buckyballs, the boy's mother said in an online post.

Hannah Arrington, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday, told NBC affiliate WESH of Orlando that she believed her son Konin acquired the magnets from a sibling who brought them home.

“From the time he got them from whoever he got them from, Konin ended up swallowing 16 of them and we had no idea,” Arrington said. “They went down into his digestive tract, and then each time he would find another one somewhere in the house and swallow it."

Two year old Konin Arrington was hospitalized after swallowing 16 magnetic balls in Orlando, Fla. (Hannah Arrington / via WESH)
Two year old Konin Arrington was hospitalized after swallowing 16 magnetic balls in Orlando, Fla. (Hannah Arrington / via WESH)

Swallowing more than one powerful magnet can lead the objects to attract each other inside the intestines, puncturing holes inside the abdomen that may lead to blood poisoning.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has previously pushed safety alerts about magnets and their potential danger to children, going as far as banning them for a few years before manufacturers were allowed to use them again in 2016.

In June 2020, the commission said there were about 4,500 magnet ingestion cases treated in hospitals across the country from 2009 to 2018.

Buckyballs did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. However, according to their website, their magnetic toys appear to include a warning that reads, in part: "Keep away from all children! Do not put in nose or mouth. Swallowed magnets can stick to intestines causing serious injury or death."

After multiple surgeries, Arrington said Konin is now back in the hospital with a feeding tube because doctors haven't determined why he couldn't keep any food down.

Konin is one of several children rushed to the emergency room after swallowing magnetic balls.

In November, a 6-year-old boy from New Jersey underwent multiple surgeries after swallowing toy magnets that punctured eight holes in his intestines. That same month, a 4-year-old boy from Indiana was rushed to the emergency room after swallowing 27 magnet balls.

And in 2018, a 4-year-old Wisconsin boy had part of his colon, intestine and appendix removed after swallowing 13 magnetic balls.

Arrington, a mother of five, cautioned other parents to check what their kids bring home.

“Me and my husband never thought we would have to pretty much pat our kids down when they come home from school," she said. "You check your kids backpack and ask how their day was but how often do you go through their pants packet? Their shirt pocket?”

"It makes you feel like you failed your kid," she said.

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