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NHS speaks out against fatal TikTok trend that has led to children swallowing neodymium magnets

The trend has left at least 65 teenagers with life-threatening injuries.

NHS speaks out against fatal TikTok trend that has led to children swallowing neodymium magnets

In a recent public statement, England’s National Health Service (NHS) has spoken out against the fatal TikTok trend that features users placing two circular neodymium magnets on either side of their tongue to make it seem like a tongue piercing. The TikTok challenge has led to at least 65 children facing life-threatening injuries in England.

The NHS called upon a ban on neodymium magnets stating that the magnets can prove fatal to individuals if they accidently swallow them. The neodymium magnets when ingested, can lead to an individual’s intestines or bowels to be pushed together which could potentially cut off blood supply to certain parts of the body.

The reports that came to light included a teenager that was admitted to the hospital after accidentally ingesting multiple magnets. The incident resulted in a six-hour surgery to remove five inches of his bowel. His mother, Amy Clarke, shared the incident via Facebook and warned parents to caution their children of the dangerous TikTok trend:

“I’m in a nightmare. This TikTok craze could/would have killed him if left any longer. Please talk to your children and tell them how DANGEROUS THESE ARE.”

Professor Simon Kenny, Paediatric Surgeon and National Clinical Director for Children and Young People at NHS England, urges parents to raise awareness among their children of the dangers of magnetic balls:

“There is nothing fun for children or their parents about surgery to remove magnets that have been swallowed and become stuck together through different parts of the intestines, or the long-term physical problems and internal scarring that can be left behind. I would urge parents to be aware of the dangers associated with magnetic toys but ultimately, the only way we can prevent future incidents is to stop these items being sold altogether.”

Moreover, Natasha Crooks from the non-profit organization British Toy & Hobby Association shared that it is essential for the product to be deemed as a toy so that it falls under stringent regulations to protect children:

“The BTHA believes the law should change to classify these types of products as toys so they have to meet strict toy safety regulations – that would mean a change in design to ensure the magnets are covered by a casing too large to swallow. Until then we are urging parents to be cautious when buying magnetic products and to only buy toys from responsible and trusted brands and to explain the dangers to their children.”