Doctors warn about magnet toy danger

by: Linda Stouffer Updated:

ATLANTA,None - Triston Cox, 8, has an abdominal scar and a story about how he swallowed a dozen magnetic balls.

“My baby sister made me laugh,” Triston said as he showed Channel 2’s Linda Stouffer how he tipped his head back and the magnets slid down his throat.

The complications started that night when the magnets stuck to each other through the walls of his colon and bowels.

His grandmother, Kathy Fuller, said he was throwing up and in incredible pain.

“It was horrible. If you’d seen him, it was horrible,” Fuller said.

Then, an X-ray showed the magnets lined up in a row- stuck in his abdomen.  

“I said, ‘What is that?’ You could see the magnets laying in his colon,” Fuller said.

Triston was rushed into surgery at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.

Stouffer spoke with the chief of pediatric surgery at Egleston, Dr. Richard Ricketts, who wants to warn parents about the danger.

“As they go through the intestinal track, they can adhere together and they can clump together because they are very, very strong magnets,” Ricketts said.

He said the hospital has recently seen at least four children with injuries after swallowing the magnets.

Some children pretend the magnets are tongue piercings, or stick them around their faces.

Stouffer called one manufacturer, and the president of the company that makes BuckyBalls, who said children should never have the magnets and that they are marketed for adults only.

The company puts obvious warning labels on its website, including one that says, “Keep away from all children.”

That’s not enough for Triston’s grandmother, who said the toys are irresistible.

“Any child who would see this would want it,” Fuller said.

Now that he’s recovering from his hospital stay, Triston said he plans to warn his friends.

“I’m gonna tell them, 'Don’t buy them things,' because I almost died,” he said.