A 13-year-old girl is hospitalized after swallowing 15 magnets for a TikTok trend. These challenge videos involved people pretending to have facial piercings by placing magnets on their tongues or around their cheeks. This girl had no idea this trend would land her in the hospital with unbearable stomach cramps. At first, the doctors believed she had food poisoning or appendicitis. However, then she began “vomiting black water” and underwent emergency surgery.
After Swallowing 15 Magnets for TikTok
According to TODAY, Faye Elizabeth accompanied her daughter to the hospital and explained the reveal of the magnets. “She got an X-ray and you could see the magnetic beads inside… She’s got part of her bowel removed … it was like two segments of it, so they had to re-stitch it back. They also found magnets inside her appendix, so they had to remove her appendix as well. She’s now left with just over a 6-inch scar down her stomach.”
Faye Elizabeth added that her daughter (whose name remained private to protect her from online bullying) didn’t swallow the magnetic beads all at once. Instead, the swallowing of the 15 magnets happened on different occasions while she tried to imitate the look of a tongue piercing.
“Apparently she watched a TikTok video where there’s a trend that all the kids are doing at the minute. I haven’t actually seen it but she told me about it and a lot of other children her age have seen it,” the mom said. “They put one of the beads on top of their tongue and one underneath and it makes it look like their tongue is pierced.“
In addition to the pain of swallowing a non-food item, the 15 magnets inflicted a unique kind of agony. “The magnets are all trying to stick together, so you can imagine the pain going on inside, with them all trying to pull and stick together,” the mother said. For now, her daughter remains in the hospital during her slow recovery. “She can’t eat or drink. She’s getting her nutrients and stuff through a drip. She’s going through a lot of pain at the minute.”
The Dangers of the Rare-Earth Magnets
After this experience, the mother urged other parents to be aware of this “fake piercing” trend and stop their kids from joining. “I’ve got a little niece, and she said loads of girls in her class have been doing the same thing. It’s a trend that all the kids are doing,” she said. She begs parents to throw away the children’s magnetic beads. “Just bin them. Don’t buy them. It’s not worth it,” she said. “The pain that I’ve seen my daughter go through, it’s horrific.”
Additionally, another child suffered serious complications after swallowing these magnets. Eleven-year-old Ellis Tripp underwent a six-hour surgery that removed five inches of his bowel. Like Faye Elizabeth, Amy Clarke, his mother, warns other parents of this dangerous trend. “I’m in a nightmare. This TikTok craze could/would have killed him if left any longer. Please talk to your children and tell them how DANGEROUS THESE ARE.”
These magnets are so small — less than 6mm in diameter — and they are easy to swallow. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents that swallowing these magnets could cause serious harm or death. After ingestion, “they can attract each other through walls of the intestines and cause severe injuries.”
These magnets were banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2014, but they returned to the market in 2016. The CPSC reported an increase in injuries to children from this product since then. Benjamin D. Hoffman, M.D., FAAP, advises parents to get rid of these rare-earth magnets or keep them out of the reach of children.
Ending the Trend
Additionally, Professor Simon Kenny, pediatric surgeon and national clinical director for children and young people at NHS England, called for a ban on these magnets. “There is nothing fun for children or their parents about surgery to remove magnets that have been swallowed and become stuck together through different parts of the intestines, or the long-term physical problems and internal scarring that can be left behind. I would urge parents to be aware of the dangers associated with magnetic toys but ultimately, the only way we can prevent future incidents is to stop these items from being sold altogether.”
The NHS said that whoever swallowed magnets should not wait for symptoms to begin, and should seek medical help immediately.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for TikTik responded to this ‘swallowing 15 magnets‘ controversy, stating that the safety of their community is its “top priority”.
“Our Community Guidelines make clear what kind of content is not acceptable on our platform, and this includes content that encourages, promotes, or glorifies dangerous behavior that might lead to injury. The content in question violates our guidelines, and it had already been removed from our platform.”TikTok via SkyNews
- “Mom warns of dangerous TikTok trend after teen daughter swallows 15 magnets.” Today. Linsey Lowe. May 28, 2021
- “A Teen Needed Surgery After Copying a Dangerous TikTok Trend—and Her Mom is Issuing a Warning.” People. Zara Hanawalt. May 27, 2021
- “Rare-earth magnets pose danger to children when swallowed.” AAP News. Carly Menker. March 1, 2021
- “TikTok trend featuring tiny magnets could be life-threatening – and NHS wants them banned.” Sky News. June 1, 2021