There has been press coverage over the years about the potential dangers to kids of swallowing supermagnets. Concerns about how seriously kids can be harmed from supermagnets are not exaggerated. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) writes an increasing number of incidents reported to CPSC has indicated that kids are swallowing these magnets and the injuries are often serious. Writing about this problem, Pediatric News reported on Oct. 28, 2013, "‘Supermagnet’ ingestion injuries remain a concern."
Due to the popularity of powerful neodymium magnets there has been an increase in magnet ingestion–related
injuries among young kids in recent years. The largest increase has involved multiple magnet ingestion during the last 3 years of the study. The ingestion of multiple magnets has the potential to be particularly dangerous, because the magnets, being neodymium-iron-boron magnets which are 10-20 times stronger than traditional magnets, can link through loops of bowel and result in pressure necrosis. Bowel perforation, sepsis, and death can result in the absence of prompt recognition of multiple-magnet ingestion.
It appears there has actually been an epidemic of ingestion of supermagnets fueled by new technology. Physicians should be made aware of the risk of magnet ingestions and of the potential morbidity which is associated with ingestion, along with the appropriate management of patients who ingest these magnets. Parents, teachers and the general public should also be better informed about the dangers associated with ingestion of these powerful little magnets. They appear to be harmless little toys to kids and many other people, but they are potentially lethal if swallowed.