GLADSTONE, Mo. — A Gladstone, Missouri mom is warning parents about small, stackable magnets her 5-year-old son swallowed over the weekend.
Her son, JoJo, had to be put under anesthesia Saturday so doctors could go down his esophagus and take the magnets out of his stomach.
“They’re super high-powered,” JoJo’s mom, Jeni Friend, said. “They’re really, really strong and my kiddo swallowed two of them. We hit the gas pedal pretty hard and pretty fast because we were both aware of how dangerous it was.”
Friend said nurses at Children’s Mercy Hospital acted fast.
“It was a little bit scary,” JoJo said.
“I’m a single mom, and I was sitting in that room just trying to wrap around in my mind what life might look like if they did move into the intestinal track, and if major damage was going to be done, and kind of what life was going to look like for us,” Friend said.
X-rays showed the magnets were, thankfully, not yet in JoJo’s intestinal track.
It’s something Children’s Mercy has warned parents about.
An article from earlier this year states, “The magnets can be drawn together and make holes in the intestines, causing blockages or severe infection.” It goes on, “Many children require emergency surgery.”
The hospital says in 2019, the National Poison Data System reported nearly 1,600 calls related to this. ER visits have increased by 444% since 2017.
In August, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled certain toy magnets due to ingestion hazards.
It’s why Friend wanted to alert other parents.
“These magnets are not safe,” Friend said. “They’re just really not safe. And unless a child is truly mature enough to be playing with these responsibly, they just shouldn’t be.”
Friend said doctors told her they had three other cases Saturday, and some involved blockages.
So far, the hospital has not confirmed that.