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What Kids Will Swallow

Posted Feb 11 2011 1:52pm

When I tell medical students that I have had kids as patients who have swallowed such things as a razor blade and a safety pin, they find it hard to believe. Now kids have found something new to caused damage to their bodies, and great worry for their parents and treating doctors. The new objects are magnet balls. These are small balls that can be linked together or formed into different shapes. Not content with playing with them, some kids are putting them in their mouths to pretend they have had their tongues pierced. It is hard to understand how any child or teenager could do something like this. Perhaps it is done on a dare or perhaps a child or teenager doesn't want to seem like a wimp.

The problem is that if one or more of the magnetic balls are swallowed, they then can then make their way down into the bowwl and cause obstruction or perforation. Two deaths have been reported. I think the answer for parents and doctors who see chidlren is to talk about what can happen when foreign objects of any kind are swallowed. I certainly did this with my children and my grandchildren and think they would have been frightened to try swallowing anything like a foreign body. I did this also about body piercing and remember my grandson saying, "I'm sure not going to let anyone do something like that to me." Talking about what can happen and painting a visual picture can do a great deal of good.


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