KAYTLYN Waye will be steering clear of a new fad, after suffering life-threatening complications from swallowing magnets she was wearing as jewellery.
The 12-year-old from Greta is recovering in John Hunter Children’s Hospital following surgery to repair her bowel, which perforated in four places when the powerful magnets connected internally and tore through the intestine.
Kaytlyn’s mother Sandra Robinson wants to warn other parents and youngsters to be vigilant.
The small ball-shaped magnets, Buckyballs, are desk toys that form chains, loops and other structures.
Kaytlyn used them as pretend lip piercings but accidentally swallowed some.
Later she had stomach pains and, showing signs of appendicitis, had surgery within days.
Five magnets and four bowel perforations were discovered in the operating theatre.
Mrs Robinson said she had no idea until after the surgery that Kaytlyn had swallowed the magnets.
‘‘Hopefully this has taught her a lesson,’’ Mrs Robinson said.
‘‘Don’t swallow magnets,’’ Kaytlyn said.
Buckyballs spokesman Andrew Frank said multiple warnings were printed on the packaging and product’s website.
He said Buckyballs were not sold in children’s stores and should not be used for fake piercings.
‘‘I think it’s just important that people use all their products appropriately and they follow all directions and instructions on products,’’ Mr Frank said.
Children, young people and families director Trish Davidson said the children’s hospital wanted to warn people not to put the magnetic balls near the mouth, nose or anywhere they could be ingested.
‘‘In some cases they may result in perforation of the intestine; perforation of the intestine is a life-threatening issue if it’s not picked up early,’’ Professor Davidson said.
*Desk toy made of small, powerful magnetic balls
*Can form chains, loops and other structures
*Uses include wearing as jewellery, pinning items to fridge, or kneading in hands for stress relief
*Comes with a warning to keep away from children, and not to put in the nose or mouth
*The warning says swallowed magnets can stick to intestines causing serious injury or death
*Immediate medical attention is required if swallowed or inhaled