Warning over magnetic ball craze after four children left needing surgery

A doctor has spoken out after a deadly magnetic ball craze has seen at least four children needing emergency surgery.

The tiny balls are used by youngsters to pretend they have facial piercings and sees them placing them in their mouths.

The magnetic beads cause severe damage to the digestive system if swallowed.

At least four children in the Stockport area of Greater Manchester have needed operations to remove the balls, causing a local doctor to write to parents.

His letter read: "I would like to highlight the dangers of these highly magnetic balls.

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"These very small (usually 3-5mm) balls are widely available to buy in the UK and are sold as a 'creative toy.'

"I cannot emphasise how dangerous these can be if swallowed.

"These balls have already been banned in other countries because of their risk to children.

"You may wonder why a child would swallow these or you may think 'my child wouldn't swallow them' but I plead with you to not take the risk.

"Apparently, some children have been creating a larger ball using numerous small individual balls and putting them in their mouth, they then place other balls on the outside of their face.

"They then use their tongue to move the larger ball in their mouth to make the balls on their face move, which understandably kids find amusing.

"However, some of the individual balls in their mouth can come away and be accidentally swallowed.

"The balls are highly magnetic and when swallowed can cause severe damage to the digestive tract."

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He added: "As the balls move through the bowel they can magnetise together even when in different parts of the bowel.

"The pressure applied to the bowel tissue lying between the two magnets is so strong is causes a perforation in the bowel."

Back in June, Mirror Online reported six-year-old Libbie Walker needed surgery after swallowing the magnetic balls from a bracelet she was wearing.

She suffered significant internal damage and a perforated bowel and has been left with a seven-inch scar.

Her mum, Claire Deyes, spoke out to warn other parents after Libby was rushed to hospital and operated on for suspected appendicitis, when surgeons discovered a magnetic nut and ball-bearing which she had swallowed.

Her mum said: "I just want parents to know not to buy them, and if they do, to keep them away from their children.

"The surgeon had said if it was just the nut it would of passed through but because she had eaten the magnet it had ripped two holes through her bowel. To get to the nut which they had to remove an inch of her bowel.

"I didn't know until the surgeon told me how dangerous they are. If this story stops other children going through what Libbie has then it's worth it."

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