Magnet warning from popular toy

Four-year-old Chloe was happily playing with her sister’s magnetic balls when all of a sudden her faced turned blue and she burst into tears.

Her parents, Tuyen and Huu, rushed over as she hunched on floor and saw their daughter clutching some of the magnetic balls in her little hands.

Fearing the worst, Chloe’s  mother Tuyen asked if she had swallowed some magnetic balls and she admitted she had swallowed one. Concerned, Tuyen then asked Chloe what colour it was and she told her ‘rainbow.’

Her older sister, Claire, who was standing right next to her then said – “there is no such thing as a rainbow-coloured magnet ball.” That’s when Tuyen realised this was an emergency,

Chloe was rushed to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, where an x-ray confirmed she had not swallowed one, but rather eight different coloured magnetic balls, which had all clamped together in her stomach, and formed a “rainbow”.

Fortunately for Chloe, the magnetic balls were  able to be extracted through an endoscopy procedure, however Dr Michael Stormon, Head of Gastroenterology, said others might not be so lucky.

“Swallowing multiple magnets can be dangerous as they carry a risk of bowel perforation when two or more clamp together. This can be a life-threatening emergency,” Dr Stormon said.

“If Chloe’s parents had not responded as quickly as they did, the magnetic balls may have passed into her intestines and there could have been terrible complications.

“If you think your child has swallowed magnets, go immediately to your nearest emergency department.”

Watch Chloe’s story on 9 News.

Magnetic balls are a particular risk for young children because they look very similar to lollies. Children are also very curious and often put things in their mouths, unaware of the potentially serious consequences.

The best advice is to remove these items from the household or keep well out of reach of children.

The first thing Chloe’s family did when they arrived home was throw all the  magnetic ball toys in the bin and Tuyen urges other parents to do the same.

“Magnetic balls are not lollies, they’re not something you can eat but accidents can happen. Like my daughter, she knows she cannot eat magnetic balls but somehow, by accident, she swallowed them,” Tuyen said.

“Thank you to all the doctors and nurses who helped our little girl. We hope our story can now help make sure this doesn’t happen to another child like Chloe.”