Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified that magnets from a toy by Magformers were swallowed. It has not been confirmed which toy the boy swallowed.
A Wisconsin mother’s warning has gone viral after her son accidentally swallowed 13 magnets.
Last week, Jennifer White’s four-year-old son, Beck was rushed to the hospital by ambulance after he broke open a magnetic block and accidentally swallowed 13 small magnets.
In a Facebook post that has since been shared more than 140,000 times, White warned parents not to leave their children unattended with the toy since they can be easily broken.
“Please keep him in your prayers and thoughts, all the good vibes and juju are needed,” White wrote. “We are headed to [the] Children’s hospital in Milwaukee. Beck and Mom are taking an ambulance and Dad’s meeting us there. Beck broke open a magnetic toy and has 13 tiny magnets in him. I feel guilty AF and horrible posting this but I don’t want another child to go through this. If you have little ones or chewers these are dangerous and we’re removing them from our home. Dogs could also break these open, too.”
In an update, White and her husband Jeremy shared that their son required surgery to remove part of his colon, intestines and appendix.
“The magnets created holes and infection in his intestines,” White said. “He has to stay in [hospital] for at least 3-4 days. They need to restart his bowels and [are] watching the infection. He is high risk still and please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, thank you.”
White and her family have received an overwhelming amount of support after the incident and have received numerous gifts for their son while in recovery.
“Never in all of my life have I had the support and unbelievable generosity of so many people,” the mother of three wrote. “I’m still in complete awe. Beck is doing well and mostly sleeping which is good cause it will be easier to rid the infection in his stomach. When we left for Milwaukee I left with my purse and my jacket. His stay will be at minimum four days and our family is over an hour away. “
The risks of swallowing magnets
Many children swallow foreign objects, however magnets, specifically multiple magnets are a serious medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention.
If you suspect your child has swallowed a magnet, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Often when someone swallows magnets they experience abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Consuming multiple magnets is a serious medical emergency as the magnets seek to attract one another through the gestational tract and can cause severe damage to the stomach and bowels. Magnets will often perforate intestinal walls to try to get to one another, and have been linked to bowel and intestinal obstruction and necrosis (tissue death).