LIVE: Milwaukee County officials discuss latest COVID-19 info and developments
Important resources to help you navigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Wisconsin
Hub for reliable, timely news about COVID-19 pandemic

The return of dangerous magnets

Data pix.

Tiny super-strong rare-earth magnets sold as toys were banned several years ago, but now some are back on the market, landing kids in emergency rooms.

The reason they’re getting hurt?

Children are swallowing the powerful balls, which can pull together inside the intestines, causing life-threatening injuries.

They’re not just any magnets: Rare-earth magnets can be 30 times stronger than ordinary refrigerator magnets.

They have an exceptionally strong magnetic field for their size and can be difficult to separate.

These really strong magnets, if swallowed, can pinch together, break through the intestinal tract lining, and cause serious trauma.

This type of magnet was banned in 2014.

But in 2016, a panel of federal judges voted 2 to 1 to rescind the ban, and the magnets started appearing on store shelves again.

Back in 2016, the number of ingestions reported was 220. But that rose to an estimated 1,580 in 2019.

Now that these products are much more readily available, parents should be vigilant about protecting their kids.

Educate them about the hazards, and certainly, if you have young ones, avoid having the magnets at home.

The Toy Association says these rare-earth magnets are designed and sold as adult stress-relievers and desk products, and they aren’t intended to be used as children’s toys.

But as emergency room data show, children are still coming in contact with them.

Consumer Reports strongly urges parents to use extreme caution with these magnets and recommends that you avoid having them if there are children in your home.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2019 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumerreports.org.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.