A 3-year-old with curious eating habits is recovering after swallowing 37 high-powered "Buckyballs" magnets. KPTV reports that after she ate them, the magnets formed a dangerous ring inside Payton Bushnell's digestive track, snapping her intestines together and ripping holes in both her small intestine and stomach.
"They saw a circle had formed in her stomach, and they thought she swallowed a bracelet," Payton's mother, Kelli Bushnell, told the station.
Buckyballs has released a statement on their website, reading:
"Buckyballs was saddened to learn that a 3-year old girl in Oregon had swallowed high-powered magnets but we are relieved that she is expected to make a full recovery. This unfortunate incident underscores the fact that Buckyballs and Buckycubes are for adults. They are not toys and are not intended for children. We urge all consumers to read and comply with the warnings we place on all our products, on our website and in stores. Please keep these products out of the hands and reach of all children."
A recent report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says there have been 22 cases of children swallowing magnets since 2009. And the New York Times reported that while swallowing a single magnet rarely poses problems, swallowing even just two can prove fatal. The Canadian government explains on one of its health information sites that once someone has swallowed more than one magnet, the magnets can literally travel through the intestines until they link up. Along the way, they can create dangerous blockages and even slowly tear through the intestinal walls themselves.
Needless to say, Payton Bushnell survived, thanks to her doctors at Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel. She's expected to make a full recovery.
"Her mom and I prayed and hoped she'd get through it," Payton's father, Aaron Bushnell, told KPTV. "It's a miracle she is doing as well as she is."
The Centers for Disease Control says accidental injuries are the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4, beating out disease, birth defects, infections and other illnesses combined. Interestingly, accidents continue to be our biggest threat until about age 24.
Payton's parents will almost certainly be keeping a closer eye on their hungry daughter, who they tell KPTV has a habit of eating inanimate objects. They say they are speaking out to help warn other parents about the risks of keeping magnets around small children.
In this video from 2006, a man reportedly swallows a magnet, then traces its path through his digestive tract, using a penny.
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