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Rate of kids ingesting magnets increasing: study

August 21, 2013

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Seattle – The rate of children ingesting magnets increased more than fivefold between 2002 and 2011, according to a new study from the University of Washington.

Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, researchers identified 22,581 pediatric magnetic-related injuries during the 10-year time period. The incident rate increased from 0.57 cases per 100,000 children in 2002-2003 to 3.06 cases in 2010-2011, according to the study, which was published by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Patients were more likely to be admitted to the hospital when they ingested multiple magnets, which can cause intestinal damage.

In 74 percent of cases, the magnets were swallowed. However, kids – especially older ones – also suffered nasal injuries related to magnets, likely because they used magnets to mimic facial piercings, researchers said.

The study was published online Aug. 6 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.