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Why magnets in toys can be so dangerous to children

Many toys designed for children of all ages contain magnets. While all of us played with magnets and toys containing magnets as kids, the ones in some toys today are high-powered and can be extremely dangerous, and even fatal, if they're swallowed.

These high-powered magnet sets contain as many as 100 or more tiny, powerful magnetic balls or cubes. They were banned after they injured thousands of people, many of whom were children. The ban significantly reduced the number of injuries. However, that ban was overturned over two years ago.

Before the ban on these products, thousands of people, many of them children, ended up in emergency rooms with injuries. After the ban, doctors say it dropped to only a few.

Even though toys and other products with these high-powered magnets aren't meant for young children, we all know that kids often get ahold of things they aren't supposed to. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cautions parents against having any products that contain high-powered magnets in their home. In fact, the AAP warns parents not to put any loose magnets or products containing magnets where young children can reach them.

Too often, parents don't realize that their children have ingested magnets because the symptoms are similar to those that occur with common medical conditions in children. These include vomiting, fever and abdominal pain.

If you suspect that your child may have swallowed a magnet or magnetic product, it's essential to get them medical attention immediately. If the magnets remain in them, they can severely injure a child's digestive tract, intestines and/or stomach. These injuries can be fatal.

If your child is injured by magnets included in a toy, it's a good idea to report the injury to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This is the federal agency responsible for the safety of children's toys as well as other products. If they get enough complaints about a product, they may take action to have it removed from the market. It may also be wise to find out what your legal options are to seek compensation from the manufacturer and perhaps others for medical expenses and other damages.

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