Townsville Hospital Warning Parents Of Toy Hazards After Toddler Scare

"Fast, silent, and very dangerous"


Article heading image for Townsville Hospital Warning Parents Of Toy Hazards After Toddler Scare

Families are being warned about the dangers of magnetic balls, banned in Australia but widely available online, after two North Queensland children required emergency care over Christmas from ingesting the toys. 

Townsville Mum Rebecca Fay said she didn’t think twice about ordering the magnetic balls, sold as part of a multicoloured magnetic construction kit, on eBay as a Christmas present for her seven-year-old daughter Olivia. 

It wasn’t until after she rushed Olivia to Townsville University Hospital with tummy pain after the primary schooler accidentally swallowed five of the balls that she realised the danger.

Townsville public health director Dr Steven Donohue isn’t seeing the funny side of the magnetic balls.

“These balls are very small, between one and 10 millimetres, and because they are metallic there can be very serious consequences from ingesting them,” he said. 

“If they are swallowed, they can stick together and pinch the insides of the small intestine or stomach potentially leading to perforation, peritonitis and other dangerous complications.

“They are also a serious choking hazard for young children.” 

Dr Donohue said a North Queensland toddler had more than a hundred magnetic balls extracted from his stomach this month.

“The ingestion was fast, silent and very dangerous,” he said.

“Both of the children who ingested these balls were very lucky; if their parents hadn’t acted quickly things could have been a lot worse.”

Dr Donohue said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had banned the magnetic balls in Australia.

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Triple M Townsville

16 January 2020

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