Swallowing foreign objects is a common occurrence among children between 6 months and 3 years old. About 80 percent of objects that reach the stomach will pass through the gastrointestinal tract on their own. However, up to 20 percent will need to be surgically removed.
Children who swallow more than one magnet need immediate medical attention. Researchers say if magnets are allowed to pass beyond the stomach, they can attract each other through opposing intestinal walls which could be dangerous for children.
While swallowing magnets is not as common as swallowing coins, jewelry or toy parts, researchers say there have been several reported cases of multiple magnet ingestion over the past five years thus they stress on the need for parents and physicians to be more alert.