Our surgeons have been reporting increasing numbers of children ingesting button batteries and super-strong magnets.
- Last year we ran an awareness campaign about button batteries in the run-up to a Christmas holiday season under lockdown, with Kate Cross contributing.
- Ian Sugarman wrote about the dangers of super-strong magnets, after James Andrews highlighted children copying TikTok fake piercing videos.
- The Paediatric Surgery Trainees Research Network collected data for a Multicentre Retrospective Study of Magnet and Button Battery Ingestion in Children, again recognising the increased risk associated with lockdown.
- Georgina Malakounides co-authored a study surveying eleven major trauma centres across the UK in 2020, where children had been admitted to hospital following magnet ingestion; 51% had to undergo surgery to have the magnets removed.
Sadly, we know from our colleagues overseas, that these preventable but potentially fatal injuries are happening across the world.
Outside our specialty, momentum is building:
- NHS England called for a ban on magnets in May 2021 quoting Simon Kenny.
- In September 2021, The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) partnered with The Chartered Trading Standards Institute, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Child Accident Prevention Trust, British Retail Consortium, British Toy and Hobby Association, and partners within the NHS to produce magnets safety messages on how to keep children and teenagers safe.
- In October 2021 the British Toy and Hobby Association’s (BTHA) report found that nearly half of toys bought online are unsafe and 88% of toys tested were illegal to sell in the UK. The report was shared across news channels.
As we approach Christmas in 2021, BAPS joins with The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) and The Children’s Surgical Foundation (CSF) to keep children safe, by raising awareness of the dangers of super-strong magnets.
CAPT explains how to buy toys safely online and highlight super-strong magnets with our Honorary Secretary, Ashish Desai.
CSF urges parents not to buy toys with magnets this Christmas and report a five-fold increase in children swallowing magnets in the last five years. BAPS members Hemanshoo Thakkar and Caroline Pardy alongside our President, Munther Haddad contribute to the CSF news item which also has data from the South East of England.
We will be sharing your experiences on social media throughout December 2021.
To help us raise awareness, please share our flyer and our social media posts.