Hugh Pickens writes writes "Many of today's toys contain rare-earth magnets which are much more powerful than the magnets of yesteryear and the magnets pose a serious threat to children when more than one is ingested because as the magnets attract one another they can cause a range of serious injuries, including holes through internal organs, blood poisoning and death (PDF). Braden Eberle, 4, swallowed two tiny magnets from his older brother's construction kit on two successive days last spring and his mother's first reaction was that the magnet would pass through her son's system without a problem. "People swallow pennies of the same size every day," said Jill Eberle. "They're smaller than an eraser." But next morning, with Braden still in pain, the family's doctor told them to go straight to the emergency room where an X-ray revealed two magnets were stuck together. "They were attracted to each other with the wall of each segment they were in stuck together," said Dr. Sanjeev Dutta, the pediatric surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital who would operate on Braden later that day. "Because they were so powerful, the wall of the intestine was getting squeezed, squeezed, squeezed, and then it just necrosed, or kind of rotted away, and created a hole between the two." The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says at least 33 children have been injured from ingesting magnets (PDF) with a 20 month-old dying, and at least 19 other children requiring surgery."
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