Mickey Hambly, from Margate in Kent, was rushed to hospital after suffering agonising abdominal pain. An X-ray showed six tiny balls lodged in his stomach, which turned out to be some popular magnetic toys
A mum is warning other parents of the risks posed by some popular magnetic toys after her son suffered three holes in his bowel when he swallowed them by accident.
Mickey Hambly, seven, was rushed to A&E by his parents in the early hours of the morning when he began suffering agonising abdominal pain.
The boy was found to have three holes in his bowel, caused by some powerful magnetic objects that have become popular online.
An X-ray showed six tiny balls lodged in his stomach – which mum Elaine Hambly, 29, was horrified to see were toys she bought him for his birthday.
She purchased the small magnets after watching viral YouTube videos of them being used to build impressive structures.
But now the mum is warning other parents of the dangers posed by the toys due to the strength of the magnets and the damage they can cause.
The mum-of-four from Margate, Kent, said: “I can’t stress enough to parents – please do not buy these. As fun as they look, they are really dangerous and can be life-threatening.
“Unfortunately kids are putting them in their mouth or pretending to make piercings. They look just like the little sweets you can put on birthday cakes – they’re hard and colourful.
“The hospital said that wasn’t their first case of it – they’ve seen a few. They are so strong and have been causing kids serious damage.
“I just want other parents to know what can happen. It was a horrible experience for our whole family.”
Since his operation, Mickey told his mum he had accidentally swallowed the magnets while rolling them in the space where he had lost a tooth because it “felt nice on his gum”.
The round, coloured magnets are hugely popular toys used as building blocks, with YouTube videos showing them being shaped into impressive structures, such as buildings and animals.
After viewing some of those videos, Ms Hambly bought the toys for her son.
She supervised her children while they used them, but decided to get rid of them when they began sticking to metal items in her home.
However, without her knowledge, Mickey got hold of the toys and swallowed six of them.
After X-rays revealed the reason for the boy’s pain, he was rushed by ambulance from Margate’s QEQM hospital to Evelina Children’s Hospital in London, where he underwent emergency surgery to remove the magnets.
Along with his mum, Mickey had to stay in hospital for a week after the three-hour operation, but he is now back at home and recovering well.
Ms Hambly added: “I couldn’t believe it. They attracted to each other inside him and formed three holes in his bowel.
“He has now got a scar and cannot ride a bike, scooter, go swimming, play football, or even play outside for at least two months – and can have complications with his bowel in the future.
“We have to go for constant check-ups at the Evelina Hospital. And if he gets ill or sick or has a high temperature we have to take him to A&E.
“It was a horrible time for us all. As his dad and siblings were at him not knowing what was going on and couldn’t see us.
“It was the hardest thing we have had to go through as a family.
“We want to get awareness out for other families so they can be aware of the affects the magnetic beads can cause if swallowed.”
Mickey is now back at school, but he is not allowed to play outside with his friends at break or lunchtimes while he recovers.
Ms Hambly is now keen to raise awareness of the dangers the toys can pose if ingested.
Since posting about what happened to Mickey on Facebook, several other parents have contacted her reporting similar incidents, she said.