Rare-earth magnets are often sold in gift shops, jewelry stores and specialty stores and used for a variety of purposes. Many children and teens use them to perform simple magic tricks to impress their friends or simply collect them. One teenager found out the hard way that rare-earth magnets can be dangerous.
14-year-old Christin Rivas brought six of the magnets to school and planned to use them to play tricks on her friends. When she accidentally swallowed them, she had to have surgery to remove them before they could harm her body and make her sick.
“I do feel it was one of those stupid kid moments,” said Christin. “I was going to the bathroom and I put them in my mouth because I didn’t want to put them on the floor. I wasn’t quite thinking. The kid on the other side said something that made me laugh and swallow them.”
“I started to try to make myself throw up because I read they were really dangerous and got really worried,” she continued. “I told my teacher, and she sent me to the clinic and they called my mom.”
When magnets are swallowed, they can harm the digestive track, mainly the bowels. As the magnets move through the bowels, they cause perforations which can lead to internal bleeding and other severe health problems.
Christin’s doctors removed the magnets before they could travel through her bowels and cause any problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 people have been injured by swallowing magnets and one has died within the last 10 years. Christin hopes that her accident can raise awareness and prevent other children and teens from needing surgery or becoming ill from swallowing magnets.
Image from YouTube.