As the holidays wind down for the year, there are undoubtedly piles of new toys in households across the nation. (And if your kids haven't already grown tired of their new playthings over winter break, count yourself lucky.) Although parents often go to great lengths to ensure products are age-appropriate and safe for their children, certain toys still pose hazards under certain circumstances. Unfortunately, one Wisconsin mother found this out the hard way. And this mom's viral warning about magnetic toys is a must read for parents.
Jennifer White of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is speaking out since her 4-year-old son, Beck, underwent emergency surgery after accidentally swallowing 13 tiny magnets found inside a popular toy. As Today reported, part of Beck's intestines, colon, and appendix were removed because the magnets had caused a hole and infection when they were ingested. “We are headed to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee. Beck and mom are taking an ambulance and Dad’s meeting us there," White wrote in her now-viral Facebook post from December 27. "Beck broke open a magnetic toy and has 13 tiny magnets in him. I feel guilty AF and horrible posting this but I don’t want another child to go through this. If you have little ones or chewers these are dangerous and we’re removing them from our home. Dogs could also break these open too."
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns that if swallowed, magnets in toys can pull together with enough force to cause serious damage to a child's digestive system. However, because the symptoms — nausea, vomiting, and fever — are similar to other illnesses, magnet ingestion can be difficult to diagnose. “We noticed on Christmas Eve, he wasn’t feeling very well. I thought he had caught the flu.” White told Fox News 6. “He did start to vomit and it was a very dark color and at that point … we knew that there was something going on.”
It's for this reason White decided to make her post public, despite the anticipated (and ultimately realized) backlash. “I don’t want another mother or father to go through this. It was such a simple toy,” White told Fox 6 News. “We had made sure that he was old enough, the age on the box, I chewed it myself. It sounds crazy but I have special needs children and sometimes you need to go a little extra and I did those things to make sure… If you have them in your home make sure you know when they’re being played with, don’t let the kids have them by themselves.”
Since her initial post, White has offered several Facebook updates concerning Beck's condition. The 4-year-old would need at least a three-to-four-day stay in the hospital — and was still considered high risk after his surgeries — she explained on Dec. 27. On Dec. 28, White added, "Beck is doing well and mostly sleeping which is good cause it will be easier to rid the infection in his stomach."
Pretty scary, right? My kids love playing with Magna Tiles — which appear to be similar to the magnetic building toys Beck had broken open. Although I'm typically in the same room with the kiddos while they're playing with Magna Tiles, after hearing this story I plan on being even more diligent about supervising their playtime. Hopefully, White's little guy continues to improve and is able to make a full recovery from this scary ordeal.
After a very frustrating first birth experience, this Deaf mother wanted a change. Will the help of two Deaf doulas give the quality communication and birth experience this mom wants and deserves? Watch Episode Four of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below, and visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes.