Dangerous Trend: Kids swallowing magnets

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (WFLA) – A dangerous new trend of kids swallowing magnets is landing children in the hospital.

While some are swallowing the magnets accidentally, some are doing it intentionally. And now, doctors are getting the word out about the negative side effects of it all.

10-year-old Brady Westphal explains how he swallowed 8 magnets (NBC/KFOR)
10-year-old Brady Westphal explains how he swallowed 8 magnets (NBC/KFOR)

Meanwhile, one Oklahoma family is counting their blessing this Good Friday. Their 10-year-old son, Brady Westphal, recently endured a seven-hour surgery and a 12-day hospital stay after swallowing eight magnets while on a family vacation, KFOR reported. 

“When i swallowed more than one magnet it would do this inside my stomach feel it inside,” Westphal recounted.

Doctors said the magnets ended up tearing through the boy’s stomach — ripping up his intestines and cutting a path of damage through the little boy’s abdomen.

“These magnets especially if swallowed at different times the magnets don’t move all the way through the intestinal tact. and then they pinch together one to another and the tissue in between gets pinched. and the blood supply gets lost. and the tissue ultimately dies,” said Dr. John Grunow, OU Children’s Hospital

It’s a growing concern as more and more surgeons across the nation are seeing cases of children swallowing such items.

“The reality is they can be deadly. not trying to over state it they can be deadly and I’m not trying to overstate it but they really can be deadly,” Dr. Grunow explained.


Video from CNN (2012):


Parents should watch for the warning signs of magnet ingestion. The symptoms could be mistaken for a virus. In Brady’s case, he was originally diagnosed with the stomach flu.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the symptoms can include abdominal pain, fever, vomiting.


According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there have been 33 reported cases where children needed surgery after ingesting magnets. So far, there has been one fatality.

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