• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Buckyballs magnets pose danger for children

A child holds Buckyballs, the tiny, magnetic pellets intended to relieve stress, on Tuesday, July 17, 2012.
July 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
They're called Buckyballs. The tiny, magnetic pellets are fun to play with, and many are aimed at lowering stress.

But when they accidentally got caught in 12-year-old Sadie's braces, she couldn't stop what happened next.

"When I was trying to get them off, they got tangled, and I ended up swallowing some and I was so scared," Sadie said.

After Sadie swallowed the little magnets, her mom rushed her to urgent care. Doctors said that the way in which the magnets traveled down Sadie's digestive system was the best case scenario. Three days after swallowing them, the four high-powered magnetic ball bearings passed through Sadie's system without incident.

As an emergency room specialist, Dr. Celina Barba at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank has seen many magnet emergencies.

"It can cause death as it has in the past," Barba said.

On the Internet, it's easy to find images of children and adults wearing the small magnets to simulate lip, nose and tongue piercings.

The makers of Buckyballs say under no circumstances is their product to be used as jewelry and that Buckyballs are intended as a creative, stress-relieving desk toy for people aged 14 and older. The company also put a warning label on the box, and in response to concerns have included safety information on their website.

Buckyballs also has an agreement with retailers instructing them not to sell the product to children. Dr. Barba says if you have children in the house, get rid of the Buckyballs or similar magnetic products.

Get to an emergency room immediately if you suspect any of these magnets have been ingested.

Sadie is sharing her story to warn others.

"I don't want people to go through what I have to, it's really scary," she said.

To get magnet safety information provided by Buckyballs and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, visit www.getbuckyballs.com/safety.


Load Comments