Construction games or office gadgets, many item kits contain small magnetic marbles. The Directorate General of Health (DGS), the repression of fraud (DGCCRF), ANSES and Public Health France are sounding the alarm on the risk of ingestion of these beads, often very small.

Two serious cases of accidental ingestion of 3 to 5 mm magnet balls have been reported recently in children 3 years and younger, they say. The magnetic balls came from “anti-stress” objects for adults.

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Great risks for children

Magnetic beads swallowed by very young children “can clump together, obstruct the digestive tract and tear the intestinal walls, causing perforations. The most serious cases require heavy surgery and can be life-threatening in children.” , add the health authorities.

Magnetic balls, which can also be part of some construction games, are “significantly more dangerous than inert objects of the same size (glass balls, coins)”.

Magnetic toys intended for children from 3 to 14 years old can also prove to be very dangerous for the youngest children, if they are left within their reach and that they inadvertently divert their use, it is stated. same source.

Take precautions

To prevent these risks of serious complications, it is advisable to put objects containing magnetic balls “out of reach of children, who could mistake them for candy and swallow them”, recommend the health authorities in a statement.

In the event of ingestion, even suspected, it is necessary to immediately call a poison control center which will give medical advice and the action to be taken (www.centres-antipoison.net). In the event of a vital emergency, call 15 or 112.

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Alerts have already been launched on the serious complications incurred by children who swallow magnets or button batteries (perforation and infection of the intestine, etc.). British doctors were recently alarmed by a sharp increase in these cases in the specialized medical journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.