NHS wants to ban sale of magnetic bullets after Tik Tok trend leaves children in hospital
The NHS has called for a ban on the sale of magnetic balls after a TikTok trend that saw children use them as fake tongue piercings that caused 65 children to be hospitalized.
The viral prank sees people placing two magnetic balls on either side of their tongue and wiggling them around to create the illusion that the “piercing” is real.
Ingesting more than one magnet can be life threatening and cause significant damage within hours as the balls are forced together in the intestines or intestines and squeezing the tissue so that the blood supply is cut off .
At least 65 children have been admitted to hospital in England for urgent surgery in the past three years after swallowing magnets, leading the NHS to issue a patient safety alert earlier this month .
Professor Simon Kenny, pediatric surgeon and national clinical director for children and young people at NHS England, wants magnets, widely sold as creative toys, to be banned.
He said, “There is nothing fun for children or their parents about the surgery to remove magnets that have been swallowed and that have stuck together through different parts of the intestine, or long term physical problems and internal scars that may be left behind.
“I urge parents to be aware of the dangers associated with magnetic toys, but ultimately the only way to prevent future incidents is to stop the sale of these items altogether.
According to the NHS, there has been an increase in hospital admissions among older children as teens join the online craze.
Unlike traditional magnets, the small balls, which are less than 6mm in diameter, are powerful in magnetism and can be easily swallowed.
Natasha Crookes, of the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA), said: “The BTHA believes the law should change to classify these types of products as toys so that they must follow strict toy safety rules. . This would mean a design change to make sure the magnets are covered by a case too large to swallow. “
The 18-month-old twins Louie and Jesse Houlden both ingested several magnets that had been purchased as toys for their older siblings.
A scan revealed Louie had swallowed 23 magnets that looped in his intestines and required emergency surgery at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. Jesse had swallowed four of them and had to undergo lock surgery to remove them. The two have since recovered.
The NHS has urged people not to wait for symptoms if magnets are swallowed and said they should seek help from A&E immediately.