Hoosier doctors, parents warn about children swallowing small toys and parts


INDIANAPOLIS — A mother is warning other parents about hazardous toys and the tiny parts inside of them.

Jessica MacNair was at the gym one day when her husband called her, panicked. He said their son, Peyton, had swallowed something he wasn’t supposed to.

“He was kind of talking about how he had put something in his mouth but he couldn’t get it out,” she recalled.

MacNair could hear Peyton crying in the background. She rushed home immediately.

“I take my phone flashlight and I’m looking in his throat and the first thing I see is two magnets stuck to the side of his uvula,” she said.

The family rushed the then four-year old to the emergency room. Once they were there, doctors attended to the boy quickly. X-Rays confirmed that he had swallowed not one, but 25 Buckeyball magnets.

“I just remember like my stomach dropping and my heart sinking. I felt sick to my stomach,” MacNair told CBS4. “it was the worst day of my life.”

MacNair said her husband had turned away for one second to take a phone call. That’s when her son swallowed the powerful magnets. Often, Peyton had lined the magnets up to make a snake. This time, though, he told his mom that he was pretending to eat spaghetti.

“The message, I guess, is these magnets? Theyre not meant to be in your home,” she said.

Such magnets, like those under the brand names Buckeyball, Zen Magnets and Neoballs, are often advertised as desk toys. They are about five millimeters in diameter and have been swallowed by dozens of children in the past.

“I don’t think it’s bad parenting,” Dr. Michael Foreman, Riley Hospital for Children, said laughing. “They’re just fast!”

Dr. Foreman confirmed, he too has seen a handful of similar cases. Most of them have been in toddlers and young kids but he also had two teenagers come in, reporting they swallowed the magnets.

He said such strong magnets like these can do a lot of damage to a small child’s body. They can cause stomach pain and vomiting, and in some cases if the magnets split and then find each other again, they can perforate an organ.

Peyton is recovering and is expected to be OK. Doctors use a rod to pull each of the 25 magnets out.

Riley Hospital for Children also recently examined a 16-month-old child who swallowed a button battery. The battery was only inside for a couple of hours, but still burnt a hole in the little boy’s esophagus. He, too, is expected to make a full recovery.

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