Buckyballs magnets: An intestinal hazard for kids


Meredith DelPrete, 10, holds the type of magnet she accidentally swallowed. (Astrid Riecken/for TheWashington Post)

The magnets are 5 mm in diameter. Last week, DelPrete, a 10-year-old fifth grader in Fairfax County, placed one on her tongue and another on the underside. The balls made it appear as though she had a tongue stud. Once she opened her mouth to show a friend, the magnets rolled back.

“That accidental swallowing led to five days at Inova Fairfax Hospital, at least 10 X-rays, three CT scans and an endoscopy,” says Sun. Doctors say DelPrete was not seriously injured.

The manufacturer of Buckyballs and the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a voluntary recall of Buckyballs magnet sets in 2010 to update the labeling to restrict sale to age 14 and older, says Sun. The magnets can be found in toys and jewelry, and are also sold separately.

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