Are these fridge magnets dangerous to have in the house with an infant?
January 21, 2017 7:28 AM   Subscribe

We use these as fridge magnets: I've been reading about the dangers of rare earth magnets, but I can't figure out if these (relatively larger and weaker) magnets are also too dangerous to risk having around our small baby. Thanks for any help!
posted by boots to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
Safest thing is to just replace them with magnets too big to swallow.
posted by Sophont at 7:50 AM on January 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Yes, those are small enough to be easily swallowed, which is very dangerous. If you continue using those you need to keep them at the top of the fridge and never overload them in a way that would make them fall to the ground.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:15 AM on January 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

I have a 2.5 year old, and I would not let those into my house.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:42 AM on January 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

My 18 month old (24 years ago) might have swallowed one. What followed was several days of searching through his poo (Dr's advice). I never found it. He might not have swallowed it, it could still be there, though he didn't set off airport security buzzers. Not worth it, really.

For info on my fridge, I write on it with a whiteboard marker, papers go elsewhere and I live alone now.

Ditch the magnets or risk searching through poo.
posted by b33j at 9:19 AM on January 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

They are kind of small - this "choking tester" is worth the $10.00. Yes, the dangers from swallowing strong magnets like Bucky Balls are terrifying, but these don't seem to be that strong.

I would hot-glue something bigger to them so you can still use them - on that same page you linked someone attached them to clothespins - you could use them to hang baby pics.
posted by NoraCharles at 10:09 AM on January 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

The magnets only need to a) be small enough to be swallowed and b) strong enough to stick to each other with a fold of intestine inbetween. That is not all that strong at all. I'd epoxy them to something too large to swallow (like river rocks you collect with your child) or just put them away for the next couple years.
posted by Mitheral at 11:29 AM on January 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

It's not worth the worry IMO.
posted by warriorqueen at 12:57 PM on January 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

We have these, and we put them away when the kids were small. It really isn't that long before your child will be through the "taste everything" stage. Honestly, to me, there are so many other options, it just wasn't worth the risk.
posted by dawg-proud at 1:05 PM on January 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

We have had some magnets like that and they tend to break upon impact, with smaller flakes shearing off. So even if the overall magnet was too large to swallow or glued to something large, I would still be uncomfortable leaving them around an infant. I would put them away for a couple years.
posted by beandip at 8:23 PM on January 21, 2017

The rule of thumb that most pediatricians use is that if it can fit through a toilet paper tube, it is a choking/swallowing hazard.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 12:02 AM on January 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Don't take the risk! I know of a friend's child, who has developmental issues, that quietly started swallowing strong magnets. Once inside the instestines, they were attracted to each other, (don't read any further if you're squeamish) ripped through the walls of the child's intestines and required emergency surgery to save the child's life.
posted by kuppajava at 11:32 AM on January 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

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