Information for parents
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
What is a ‘super strong’ magnet?
Recently, a new type of magnet has been produced which is between 7 – 14 times stronger than traditional (normal) magnets.
These magnets are known as super strong or powerful magnets.
Examples of these types of magnet include neo magnets, bucky balls, magnet balls and super strong rare-earth Magnets.
They are often used as:
- Adult desk toys.
- Stress relievers.
- Brain development toys.
- Fake piercings (older children are known to mimic cheek and tongue piercings using these magnets).
It is illegal to sell these magnets to children who are under the age of 14, but they may be in your home and available to your child.
They can be a variety of shapes and sizes, but they are most often balls or discs.
What do these magnets look like?
Below are examples of what these magnets look like:
Why have I been given this leaflet?
Your child has swallowed one of these magnets. The magnet has not been passed by your child yet, but it is safe for you to take your child home.
What will happen after my child goes home?
Your child will need a follow up X-ray 6 – 12 hours after the first X-ray.
You will have been given a time when you will need to come back to the Emergency Department.
The follow up X-ray will let the Doctor know if the magnet is moving normally through your child’s bowels (gut). Because of this, it is very important that your child attends the follow up X-ray.
It is important that there are no other magnetic objects near your child and that any clothing with metallic buttons or belts with buckles are removed until your child has had their follow up X-ray.
If your child has only ingested one magnet, it is expected that it will be passed in their faeces (poo) if the magnet is not too large.
There is no need to examine your child’s faeces (poo).
Are there any potential complication or risks?
It is very rare, but the object that your child has ingested can become stuck in their stomach (tummy) or intestines (gut).
You must take your child to the Emergency Department IMMEDIATELY if they have:
- Concerns that they have ingested any further magnets or foreign objects.
- Abdominal (tummy) pain.
- Blood in their vomit or poo.
- A fever.
If you have any concerns about changes in your child’s eating patterns, such as if they refuse food or fluids, you must IMMEDIATELY take your child to the Emergency Department.
Calls to this number are free from landlines and mobile phones
When it is less urgent than 999 call 111
Information used in the development of this leaflet
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine – Best Practice Guideline, Ingestion of Super Strong Magnets in Children, May 2021.
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
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Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet Reference: PIL1345
Date for Review: 08/09/2024