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How dangerous a toy can be? The magnetic effect
  1. Mohamed Sameh Shalaby1,2
  1. 1Department of Paediatric Surgery, Bristol Royal Children's Hospital, Bristol, UK
  2. 2Department of Paediatric Surgery, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
  1. Correspondence to Mohamed Sameh Shalaby, Department of Paediatric Surgery, Bristol Royal Children's Hospital, Upper Maudlin Street, Bristol BS2 8BJ, UK; mshalaby{at}


During the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of magnetic toys available for children. Two or more magnets separate from each other along the gastrointestinal course can attract each other across bowel walls, resulting in pressure necrosis, bowel perforations and fistulas formation. This has led to an increasing number of case reports describing serious complications from ingesting more than one magnet. We report the ingestion of a large number of magnets from one toy (>60 pieces). Our patient presented with generalised peritonitis and shock. During emergency laparotomy, she was found to have gross abdominal contamination with multiple bowel perforations and fistulae. This report emphasises the danger of such toys and how important that parents, physicians and manufacturers are aware of such fatal hazards that can arise from ‘unsupervised’ ingestion of these ‘nice-looking’ toys.

  • Accident & Emergency
  • Adolescent Health
  • Paediatric Surgery
  • Injury Prevention
  • Medical Education

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