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Rare Earth Magnets Pose Threat To Children

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the being-alive-considered-harmful dept.

Security 284

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Many of today's toys contain rare-earth magnets which are much more powerful than the magnets of yesteryear and the magnets pose a serious threat to children when more than one is ingested because as the magnets attract one another they can cause a range of serious injuries, including holes through internal organs, blood poisoning and death (PDF). Braden Eberle, 4, swallowed two tiny magnets from his older brother's construction kit on two successive days last spring and his mother's first reaction was that the magnet would pass through her son's system without a problem. "People swallow pennies of the same size every day," said Jill Eberle. "They're smaller than an eraser." But next morning, with Braden still in pain, the family's doctor told them to go straight to the emergency room where an X-ray revealed two magnets were stuck together. "They were attracted to each other with the wall of each segment they were in stuck together," said Dr. Sanjeev Dutta, the pediatric surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital who would operate on Braden later that day. "Because they were so powerful, the wall of the intestine was getting squeezed, squeezed, squeezed, and then it just necrosed, or kind of rotted away, and created a hole between the two." The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says at least 33 children have been injured from ingesting magnets (PDF) with a 20 month-old dying, and at least 19 other children requiring surgery."

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In toys? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408060)

Huh? They're putting rare-earth magnets in toys?

The bozo that thought that was a good idea has obviously never actually used a neodymium magnet...

Why are you surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408090)

Why are you surprised? This is exactly what happens when Americans buy toys manufactured in third-world shithole nations, where the concept of "safety" is virtually unheard of.

Re:Why are you surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408130)

Not to be cranky, but this is a old old topic. I took those things away from my kid like 3 years ago. Note that is of course also an issue for pets.

Re:Why are you surprised? (5, Funny)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408210)

Note that is of course also an issue for pets.

Absolutely. Have people learned nothing from the tale of the old woman who swallowed a fly? Ponies should come with warning labels.

Re:Why are you surprised? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408238)

Did you take the plastic bags away at the same time?

All of my "rare-earth" magnets came with giant warnings that not only say "KEEP AWAY FROM ALL CHILDREN" but also "Keep away from nose and mouth. Do not swallow. If swallowed, seek emergency medical attention as magnets may stick together in the intestine, causing severe injury or death".

How could that be more clear?

Re:Why are you surprised? (2)

OAB_X (818333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408376)

A warning label which is not present on toy packaging. Children's toys which contain rare-earth magnets.

In other News (5, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408476)

Nearly 300 children drowned in their bath tub.

Nearly 60 drown in a 5 gallon buckets

Over 50 in a hot tub and 16 in toilets.

But of course we need new regulations for magnets.

Re:Why are you surprised? (4, Insightful)

Destoo (530123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408266)

The problem is not toy rare earth magnets, but rare earth magnets used in toys.

A magnet used as a locking device for the clasp of a book, magnets used in a toy train to hold them together, etc.

Just like lead paint, the substitution is not obvious.

Re:Why are you surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408388)

A magnet used as a locking device for the clasp of a book, magnets used in a toy train to hold them together, etc. Just like lead paint, the substitution is not obvious.

Uhh, maybe it's not obvious to Americans, but the rest of the world often just uses velcro in such situations.

Re:In toys? (2, Insightful)

schroedingers_hat (2449186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408200)

Or how about teaching your kids that you have to be careful with some things, or actually supervising them?

Re:In toys? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408384)

If I were to rob my child of the sheer joy of treating every object he comes into contact with as delicious, delicious candy, then what kind of parent would I be? Americans love to stuff things into our lard-holes. That's what makes us Americans, dammit!

Re:In toys? (0)

teasea (11940) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408424)

Exactly. That's why I spread glass and sharp objects like tacks and rusty nails all over my kids floor. Then I stand over them and smack their hands when they touch anything dangerous.

Re:In toys? (5, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408482)

There is a certain assumption that when you give a child an age appropriate *toy* you can let the child play with the toy without direct supervision. If a parent's job is to literally watch every single thing their child does from playing with their toys to watching their Dora the Explorer videos, when precisely can said parent be expect to cook, eat, poop, or drive? I'm all for parental responsibility, and yes there are many times when a parent should be supervising a child; but really there have to be some activities that at least require a more passive form of supervision or nothing will ever get done. Surely playing with the child's own toys should be one of those times?

Re:In toys? (5, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408512)

I believe chilli or chilli oil when used judiciously can teach children not to put just anything into their mouths, and to obey their parents when told to not put stuff in their mouths.

The "effective dose" of chilli is quite low compared to the toxic/harmful dose, so it's quite safe for such things. The kid might cry a lot, but after that they'll be more likely to believe dad or mom when they say "No!".

Re:In toys? (5, Insightful)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408536)

It doesn't matter how good of a teacher you are, your two-year old will still stick toys in his mouth.

It doesn't matter how observant a parent you are, there will still be moments where you look away.

You think it's just a problem with kids? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408206)

Fuck, man. Powerful magnets pose a danger even to college students!

For those of us involved with teaching in Comp. Sci. programs, at least once a semester we have to deal with students requesting deferred projects or exams due to magnet injuries. They open up hard drives to get the magnets, not realizing how strong these magnets are. Then they end up with a broken finger, or have crushed their lips or nose or earlobes. Often times, these are students who are in their later years of study, and some of them are even graduate students.

These incidents happen frequently enough that it's something we talk about at lunch when we're at conferences with colleagues. About six months ago I was at a conference where one of the other academics was talking about how one of her students had crushed the head of his penis with some of these magnets, and had to undergo reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation. He had to miss a year of school, but still felt entitled to get credit for courses he'd only half completed, or some bullshit like that. She just couldn't believe that somebody would be stupid enough to put powerful magnets near his penis.

Hopefully we'll see fewer of these injuries with the rise of solid-state drives. It's a real bureaucratic pain in the ass filling out the paperwork for deferred exams.

Re:You think it's just a problem with kids? (0)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408230)

I've stripped those magnets out of hard drives many times and found no injury, even when I've got them on opposing sides of a finger. They just aren't that strong.

Re:You think it's just a problem with kids? (1)

Monolith1 (1481423) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408300)

if you only swallow one per day you probably wont get 2 in there at the same time

Re:You think it's just a problem with kids? (3)

OAB_X (818333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408382)

Did you try it with your intestines?

Re:In toys? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408280)

In toys? They are the toy.

Magnet set [thinkgeek.com]

Re:In toys? (1)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408422)

From the link: "For adults only. - These are so super strong, they should be kept away from children."

Rare Earth Magnets (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408066)

So, ask for them to be done medium?

Confused (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408070)

But... How do they work?

News for nerds? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408072)

Not sure this news item posted on the right web site. Don't you think this is mission creep, timothy?

Re:News for nerds? (1)

shione (666388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408134)

I think that as toys makers get more and more safety conscious toys become less collectible because they dull the designs and take out features

Take for example G1 Transformers - metal, mij, chrome, full length smokestacks. The same toy could never be sold today to kids even if they somehow could bring the price down.

I feel sorry for my kids kids toys. It will be a glob of synthetic material which safety breaks down if ingested. It won't last more than 2 years though without decomposing itself.

Re:News for nerds? (1)

schroedingers_hat (2449186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408214)

It will be a glob of synthetic material which safety breaks down if ingested. It won't last more than 2 years though without decomposing itself.

The way things are going, that sounds a bit dangerous.
Large sections of high strength (but extra soft) completely non-toxic material which you could not fit into your mouth.
Also, none of it can be more than 10cm off of the ground because they might fall off and hurt themselves.

Re:News for nerds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408240)

I purchased re-issues and actually molded and cast new real smokestacks from my original G1s and my kid will have rad toys as he grows up. Full set of 25th anniversary G.I. Joes too.

Re:News for nerds? (5, Funny)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408164)

Not sure this news item posted on the right web site. Don't you think this is mission creep, timothy?

While I understand the incredulity of a nerd/geek having kids, there is yet a one-word simple answer... MAGNETS!

Re:News for nerds? (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408288)

this is really just an ad for bucky balls at thinkgeek

Re:News for nerds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408506)

Similar magnets are much less expensive at Amazon.

Re:News for nerds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408488)

Not sure this news item posted on the right web site. Don't you think this is mission creep, timothy?

Do creeps have missions?

Parents (2, Insightful)

MitchDev (2526834) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408078)

Parents paying attention to their kids is the cure, not banning magnets...

Re:Parents (4, Informative)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408092)

You can't keep your eye on your kids all the time. Especially if they're in a 'safe' area playing with age appropriate toys.

Re:Parents (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408146)

While this is true seriously as a parent....what kind of dumbass leaves magnets where a 4 YEAR OLD can get them? Now obviously this wasn't the brightest bulb in the box, at 4 my boys knew that non-food items didn't belong in the mouth but still, not very damned smart. With my boys I would have probably worried more about one drawing on the TV with it, or maybe using it to stick his brother's shirt (with his brother still in it) to the fridge, which is why I didn't leave the rare earth magnets i'd yank out of dead drives lying around.

Now if this is some company that pulled a "Johnny Switchblade" (and points if you are old enough to know what I'm referencing there) and labeled a toy for the wrong age? i'm right there with you. there is only so many hours in the day and sometimes all a parent can do is read the label and hope its right, but ultimately nobody knows what is age appropriate for your kids but YOU. I've known kids that if they got a hold of a screwdriver at 5 would have probably stabbed themselves, mine would at least have had the sense to unplug the PC before they completely disassembled it.

Re:Parents (4, Funny)

Errtu76 (776778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408220)

My three year old even knows that, but when the new baby arrived, she started imitating all kinds of stuff. That meant also putting this in her mouth whenever we were (yes) looking. Still, I agree with you here. I never leave small items around (or magnets for that matter) where the kids can get them.

Btw, the button 'quote parent' seemed really appropriate here ;)

Re:Parents (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408582)

My parents beat me whenever I did that. Oh... how they beat me...

Re:Parents (1)

Monolith1 (1481423) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408292)

While this is true seriously as a parent....what kind of dumbass leaves magnets where a 4 YEAR OLD can get them? Now obviously this wasn't the brightest bulb in the box, at 4 my boys knew that non-food items didn't belong in the mouth but still, not very damned smart.

Bah! My 4 year old was able to dismantle a hard drive on his own. They loved playing with those super strong magnets. Just sayin...

Re:Parents (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408464)

Funny you should mention that, I was teaching the boys starting at 9 how to build their own PCs, I found it was a great way to explain how computers actually worked. having their hands on the actual drives as i explained how signals are written onto the drive and taken off it really helped the knowledge stick and now he and his brother both have PCs they built themselves from scratch.

Of course now that the oldest is in college i doubt he'll be building any laptops anytime soon but I was soooo proud of the way he vaporlocked the salesmen's brains asking questions like " Does it support VMs? What is the FSB speed of the board? What's the max memory? How much memory on the GPU?". By the time he got through with them they ended up throwing in a free totebag and care kit just to make the sale! that's my boy!

Re:Parents (1)

schroedingers_hat (2449186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408226)

Then pay attention when they're playing with the magnets, if they can't be trusted to keep track of them?
For the rest of 'all the time' the magnets can be kept in the cupboard.

Re:Parents (4, Insightful)

Shinobi (19308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408122)

No matter how much you watch kids, they will ALWAYS find that split second they need to put something in their mouth.

Re:Parents (2, Funny)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408166)

Yeah, that's what the catholic church keeps repeating, too.

Re:Parents (1)

schroedingers_hat (2449186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408232)

In my experience, the magnets on toys (such as magnetix) are only a swallowing hazard when the toy is broken.

Re:Parents (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408378)

In my experience, the magnets on toys (such as magnetix) are only a swallowing hazard when the toy is broken.

Kids often use unbreakable toys to break other toys.

Re:Parents (1)

schroedingers_hat (2449186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408404)

My point was that momentary putting it in their mouths isn't so much of an issue if you are playing with the toy with your kid. Get them in the habit of counting all the pieces when they are done (or do it yourself if they are too young) and getting rid of broken/worn ones from the set.

Re:Parents (0)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408538)

If you don't give kids toys every week, they'd be less likely to break their toys.

Nowadays the toys for really young kids are quite safe even when broken. So the problem is more likely to be mixed age environments where the younger kid swallows the bits and pieces of an older kid's toys.

Dawin will sort this out (-1, Troll)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408392)

I am well aware that it can be hard to keep track of what small kids are up to, but I always kept small, swallowable items away from my kids.

For those parents who are not able to do this: Darwin will make it likely that your genes are kept out of future generations.

Re:Dawin will sort this out (4, Insightful)

MisterSquid (231834) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408522)

Could you come down off your 4-difit UID geek high-horse and for a picosecond entertain the idea that not everything is so easily controlled in a highly dynamic nonlinear multivariate system commonly referred to as a child-rearing household in a developed nation?

Raising children is hard (I say this as a mid-forties bachelor not living in my parents' basement), and I would never dare to presume that avoiding all accidents is possible regarding the welfare of a child. I'd doubly not dare to presume such if I were a parent.

Ignorant as I am, I at least know better than to cast smug blame on the parents of children who have undergone a medical emergency. For all that is good, please follow these steps:

  1. 1. Get off high horse.
  2. 2. Discard smugness.
  3. 3. Search for "fellow feeling" and "sense of compassion".
  4. 4. Generously apply results from previous step wherever needed.

Re:Parents (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408562)

I don't know if you have several kids, but I do. I don't think "paying attention" is a useful suggestion at all. It's impossible to keep track of every tiny piece from every little toy the older kids might have played with that fell under the toybox or whatever. Small kids naturally explore with their mouths, so all the garbage in this thread about "my kid is smart enough not to do this" and "darwin will sort it out" is just dumb.

My takehome from this article is that if I still had toddlers, I would not keep toys with strong little magnets in my house. And this is a very good time of year to run this type of story.

Small parts? (1)

bolt_the_dhampir (1545719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408080)

I thought toys with small parts had warnings and age restrictions on them, magnets or not..?

Re:Small parts? (2, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408204)

Parents who are too stupid to keep toys with small parts away from their kids on their own are also too stupid to read the warning labels.

You mean like the warnings? (5, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408086)

These magnets come with clear warnings not to let kids eat them as they may become attached inside them. Seriously, is this article nothing more than a longer version of the warning that appears on the magnets themselves?

Re:You mean like the warnings? (5, Funny)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408138)

I think the key problem here is that the children don't have warning labels attached. I propose that in future hospitals tattoo babies shortly after, or if possible before, birth with something along the lines of "WARNING: child may do dangerous things". Billions of other warning labels would then be unnecessary.

Re:You mean like the warnings? (1)

d4fseeker (1896770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408244)

You may need to give the parents a service & repair manual for babies, otherwise how would they know what "dangerous things" means?
Don't blame the child for doing stuff, blame the parent for not protecting against it.

Re:You mean like the warnings? (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408474)

Check the Consumer Protection Agency. There might be a recall on your kid.

Not just small children (2)

nicklikesfire (720684) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408088)

These can be used to simulate a tongue piercing by placing one on the top of your tongue, and another below it. Obviously this leads to at least a few teenagers swallowing magnets as well.

Re:Not just small children (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408112)

These can be used to stimulate a tongue piercing . . .

You meant that . . .

Conspiracy!!1! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408094)

So does that mean Slashdot/ThinkGeek/GeekNet is trying to kill off our future nerds and geeks [thinkgeek.com] ? :P

Re:Conspiracy!!1! (1)

schroedingers_hat (2449186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408236)

Just a bit of natural selection. Chlorine in the gene pool, so to speak.

And Air is bad if you breath it too much (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408098)

If parents weren't so damn lazy and supervised their kids in activities, this along with millions of other "things dangerous to our kids" wouldn't be dangerous at all!
It's also the reason why we end up with stupid, lazy parents trying to push censorship on everyone else.

Do your own damn work or don't have kids.

Why is even even in IT?

Re:And Air is bad if you breath it too much (1)

Garybaldy (1233166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408224)

Do you have children? If so have you managed to watch them every second of their lives. No matter what you do. They will find a way.

Re:And Air is bad if you breath it too much (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408486)

Do you have children? If so have you managed to watch them every second of their lives.

We don't let them out of their locked cages that often.

How is this news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408100)

This is well-known. Why is is news?

Re:How is this news? (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408132)

This is well-known. Why is is news?

Bingo, I was going to say this too. Only thing I can think of in its defence is that as rare earth magnets (which pose the greatest risk purely due to their strength) have become more common as novelties recently- e.g. through stores such as ThinkGeek- this might be more of an issue than it was previously.

Level of risk (4, Insightful)

Intron (870560) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408136)

The pdf says they are aware of a total of 33 injuries and one death in the US ever due to magnet ingestion. Out of a 300 million population that is a vanishingly small risk. Meanwhile there are something like 30,000 accidental poisonings each year. Are we really paying attention to the right things?

Re:Level of risk (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408252)

Top five causes of injury death (source World Report on Child Injury Prevention 2008)
Road crashes: 260,000 children a year
Drowning: 175,000 children a year
Burns: 96,000 children a year
Falls: 47,000 children a year
Poisoning: 45,000 children each year

Yup worrying about rare earth magnets is pretty useless.

Re:Level of risk (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408346)

Stepping barefoot on Legos: 164,000 children a year

Re:Level of risk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408570)

Well your statistics do not show the prevalence.

For example, how many thousands of miles are kids on the road in cars? How easy is water access? How often are they around fire? How often do they walk around? How common is poison?

Kids are exposed to all of your examples many orders of magnitude more times per year than tiny strong magnets.

To twist your own example: How many kids die of cyanide poisoning each year? Between 0 and 2? I guess that means it's not very risky to let kids play with cyanide, huh?

I'm not certain that is good comparison (5, Insightful)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408282)

I think a better comparison would be deaths (or injuries) compared to prevalence of the items in question. Of the 300,000,000 people in the US, only a small fraction live in an environment with access to rare earth magnets. But most, if not all, live in an environment where there are poisonous substances. Not to mention that according to the CDC, the overwhelming number of non-intentional poisonings are drug overdoses.

In 2007, 93 percent of unintentional poisoning deaths were caused by drugs. Opioid pain medications, such as methadone, hydrocodone, or oxycodone, were most commonly involved, followed by cocaine and heroin.

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/poisoning/poisoning-factsheet.htm [cdc.gov]

I'm not certain that we're talking about the same class of problems here.

Re:I'm not certain that is good comparison (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408352)

33 children, not 33 people. There are no 300000 children in the USA.

Actually there are 300000 children in the US (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408398)

Funny typos aside, that's besides the point. How many children live (or play) in environments with easily obtainable rare earth magnets compared to those who live (or play) in environments with easily obtainable poisonous substances?

I don't know the answer to that. My point is that if we're going to compare, we should find out. Otherwise we're comparing the price of tea in China to the price of coffee in Tokyo.

Re:Level of risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408358)

Out of a 300 million population...

The population that should be considered is the children with (consumable) rare earth magnet toys.

Maybe it's just me, but... (3, Funny)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408140)

I think this somehow makes neodymium magnets seem even cooler. They've killed children... not by poisoning them, but by magnetism alone.

Re:Maybe it's just me, but... (0)

ed1park (100777) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408194)

No, that's retarded. Now what would be cool is if you went out and swallowed a handful and quietly became another statistic. :)

Fucking magnets... (0, Redundant)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408144)

...how do they... pose threats to children? I don't want to talk to a scientist, though... those motherfuckers are lying and getting me pissed...

Re:Fucking magnets... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408162)

...how do they... pose threats to children? I don't want to talk to a scientist, though... those motherfuckers are lying and getting me pissed...

...ah Saturday Morning comments ... folks still drunk off their asses from Friday night and posting nonsensical things on Slashdot.

Re:Fucking magnets... (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408514)

ah Saturday Morning comments ... posting nonsensical things on Slashdot.

Actually, that happens on all days and at all times in my experience. :)

Not to sound harsh, but... (4, Insightful)

Cramit (609487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408148)

33 children injured total is not a huge number. I think more children are injured by electrical outlets, knives, stoves, etc around the house each day. Parents need to watch their kids. The child in the summary would have had a lot less trouble if they had taken the kid to the doctor immediately; rather then waiting a few days. If the child is in pain they need to get the kid checked out asap. That being said there could be a warning in the box stating that swallowed magnets warrant a trip to the doctor, but I don't see why this a news fro nerd or really something that matters to most.

Re:Not to sound harsh, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408176)

or Smoking or doing drugs or drinking...

Captcha: metallic

Two successive days last spring (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408160)

"Last spring", in this case, means April, 2007.

Re:Two successive days last spring (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408466)

Which would be about the time that magnets were no longer allowed in toys for small children, and Magnetix (toys for children that included magnets) were recalled [cpsc.gov] and relabeled for age 6+. (This was an extension of the recall from 2006 [msn.com] ) Mattel then recalled their toys with magnets in the fall of 2007. [mattel.com] ... etc.

Are we still having problems with this 5 years later?

Are we going to need to havea story on here next week that small items are a choking hazard and shouldn't be given to children under 3?

Kids are over-sheltered (5, Insightful)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408172)

I agree that four years old is a bit young to be playing with rare earth magnets, but around the age of 6 I already knew better than to put anything like that into my mouth. Around that time I was playing in my grandpa's workshop (he used to work in refrigerator repair, and the place was full of scrap metal, scrap wood, small electric motors, MAGNETS *gasp* , hand tools, and lots of other cool stuff to play with.) Naturally, I quickly got fond of building things and tinkering with machines.

There was dangerous stuff in there (power tools and old cans of freon that he never got rid of for some reason) but he told me never to play with that and I was smart enough to listen. When he showed me what a table saw could do to a piece of scrap wood in under 2 seconds I quickly learned that I shouldn't put my finger there. The problem today is that we're treating kids who should be old enough for this stuff like toddlers. (mostly because people have turned into litigious bastards... true, they always were but it seems like it's gotten worse in the last decade or two) As a result, kids are way behind the curve on development than they were when I was growing up because their development is being stunted. If you took a typical sheltered kid from today and moved him back in time about 20 years, he would probably be considered slow and undeveloped.

Re:Kids are over-sheltered (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408504)

Today people are probably worried that if they take their kid to the ER with a minor injury and the kid says "I was playing in the workshop" they'll get done for endangering a minor.

Why is a four-year old (1)

joost (87285) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408174)

still swallowing things like magnets? Seems odd to me. That being said, there are also fake tongue piercing which are rare earth magnets too. Real easy to swallow and they wreak havoc inside the body as well. So I guess even as your child ages you have to constantly keep forbidding stuff.

Title is wrong (1)

kgroombr (608645) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408180)

The title of this article should say "... Pose Threat to Hungry Children".

Re:Title is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408278)

I would have said, "... Stupid Children" but I suppose it could be both.

People swallow....what!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408198)

Am I the only one who first read "People swallow penises of the same size every day..." ?
Had to rub my eyes and read that sentence again...

They're only dangerous when they stick together. (4, Funny)

Hero Zzyzzx (525153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408260)

Just tell your infant to only swallow one at a time. Problem solved!

I can this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408302)

Thinning of the herd.

Rename this article, IMMEDIATELY! (2)

JoshDM (741866) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408324)

The title is misleading. It makes one believe Rare Earth Magnets might pose a tactile toxic or radiative concern.

Rename it to "Rare Earth Magnets pose threat to children who ingest them" because otherwise you are wasting my time. My kid doesn't eat magnets and I've known about this hazard for a couple years.

This is not only OLD news, this is IRRELEVANT news to me that you misled me into re-reading.

Hmmm... (1)

ZenDragon (1205104) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408330)

I have a child, he is 12 now. He NEVER had a problem swallowing stupid shit when he was young. At 6 years old he was at least competent enough to know not to swallow anything but food. When he was a bit younger yea sure that might have posed a risk but we were very attentive parents and always kept an eye on him and were very careful about what we left out. Additionally we talked to him constantly and warned him about the risk of such things, and yes believe it or not that does work. Children are smarter than we give them credit for and allow them to be by dumbing everything down for them. Personally, I think that if you have 6 year old still doing that sort of thing you've got more problems than you know. Lets just say the problem extends beyond your child, stupid parents make stupid babies.

Typo in Headline (3, Insightful)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408340)

"Rare Earth Magnets" should read "Negligent Parents".

Re:Typo in Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408500)

It's obvious the solution to all the dangers children might encounter is for parents to monitor them 24 hours a day 7 days a week without ever losing sight of them for more than half a second.

Re:Typo in Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408578)

For this to be a problem, the child has to ingest not just a rare earth magnet, but a second magnet or a piece of metal at another sitting (to give gut travel time to separate the two items.

Damn straight the parent should be watching them close enough for this to never happen.

Do kids eat stuff they shouldn't? Of course.
But two separate incidents within a couple days? That's plain neglect.

Simple Solution, Duh. (5, Funny)

jacks0n (112153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408356)

Just heat the child up to above the Curie temperature of the magnets and they will fall right off!

Re:Simple Solution, Duh. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408576)

Although it seems stupid on face, this is a neat idea. The Tc for neodymium is like ~300-400C if you flooded the area around the magnet and used a small heating coil you could probably disable the magnets with minimum invasive surgery. If the number of these incidents increases it would be a good technique to research.

Rare earth medals for children's toys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408426)

I don't think there will be any changes to the toy market. To ban rare earths in toys would be expensive and unprofitable. In all fairness, because most dangerous household objects do not puncture internal organs, this warning label may need a little more emphasis. I'd suggest bold-type.

panax (1)

panax1 (2534064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408502)

Just like lead paint, the substitution is not obvious.

since no one else has said it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408586)

if kids do swallow a Rare Earth Magnet, the parents can keep an eye on them a lot easier... just check the front of the fridge! they'll probably be stuck there....

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