Small magnets pose risk to teens and tots

ORLANDO, Fla. — Christin Rivas, 14, was fascinated by the small, round toy magnets that you can sculpt into shapes and use to perform magic tricks.

Put a pen on a desk, hold a magnet underneath and watch the pen move across the desktop.

While playing with a couple of these rare-earth magnets at her Satellite Beach, Fla., middle school last week, Christin needed both hands to grab something, so she decided to hold the mini-magnets in her mouth. Someone made her laugh, and … gulp. She swallowed the magnets.

Five days later, Christin was at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Fla., having the magnets surgically removed from her intestines, along with a small section of her colon and her appendix.

Labels warning that magnets are harmful if swallowed have not stopped an increasing number of kids from putting them in their mouths or noses and then getting them stuck in their bodies, where they can cause serious harm.

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