Health Alert: Small Magnets Causing Serious Health Problems

Rady Children’s doctors are warning parents to be watchful of small, round magnets, about the size of ball bearings, which are often called “Buckyballs."

The magnets are marketed as a “desktop toy,” but when used improperly can be dangerous.

The problem occurs when two or more of the magnets are swallowed.

While traveling through the digestive system, the magnets can connect to each other, binding together separate parts of the intestines.

The magnets can create holes in the intestines, or worse. If the magnets are not passed naturally, surgery is required.

Young adults have been observed placing two of the magnets in their mouth, one on either side of the tongue, to simulate a tongue piercing.

Other children sometimes put the magnets in their nose or ears.