After swallowing toy magnet balls, a six-year old girl had to undergo emergency surgery.  

Melody Bailey from Preston was brought to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. She had to have four kinetic balls removed that were burning in her bowel.

Her mother Jane Bailey, 30, said: ‘It was just awful seeing her in so much pain for so long because she’s quite a tough cookie and doesn’t cry much so when I saw her like that I thought it must be bad.

“I had read about these stories before, and I told them to keep them out of your mouth as they could burn your organs. And that’s exactly what happened.”

After dozens of kids swallowed small magnetic toys and required life-saving surgery, the NHS called for an end to them. 

Children love magnets. They use them to pretend they have piercings but aren’t aware of the potential dangers. These magnets were placed in their noses and eyelids. Others put them in their mouths, and then put the appropriate magnet out.

If you ingest more than one magnet, this can result in serious injury within hours. The magnets can fuse within the bowels and intestines. This causes tissue to swell up, and cuts off blood flow.

After swallowing magnets for the last three years, at least 65 children were admitted to an emergency room in England.  

Melody Bailey in hospital

Melody with her mother Jane and sister Lucia

Melody Bailey (left) in Preston; right with Jane, her mother, and Lucia, was taken to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. The operation involved the removal of four kinetic ball she swallowed that were burning her stomach.

Melody's scar after she underwent emergency surgery to have part of her bowel removed

Melody’s scar following emergency surgery to remove a portion of her bowel

Magnets have become a craze among children who use them as pretend piercings

The use of magnets as fake piercings has made magnets a huge fad among kids.

Inflicting serious damage to your internal organs by swallowing magnets could be a dangerous thing 

Magnets have become a craze among kids who use them as pretend piercings, but don't think of the dangers

Kids love to use magnets as fake piercings. However, they don’t realize the potential dangers. 

The magnet has become quite popular among children who are using them for pretend piercings but not thinking of the potential dangers.

These were placed in the nostrils and under their eyes. Others put them in their mouths, and then put the magnetic magnet out.

Magnets can continue working even within the body because their force isn’t affected by thin and porous tissues.

This could cause serious problems. This is because the organ can easily be torn off by the magnetic forces of bearings.

If not addressed quickly, this type of damage could lead to severe internal bleeding or sepsis.


To raise awareness about the dangers associated with toy magnets, Ms Bailey shared video of Melody in pain prior to her July 15th surgery.

Melody and Lucia, Melody’s older sister, were all caught up in the social trend to place the magnetic in their mouths. It led eventually to Melody swallowing four.

“The surgeon told me that you would be amazed at how frequently this happens” – the mother of two said.

“She claimed that it happens about once or twice per day. I was shocked to find out they are still selling them. The magnetic balls were still available at their house, but I have since thrown all of them away.

She added: ‘I would advise parents not to buy them – they may seem like a fun little gadget but it’s not worth the risks because it was a terrifying experience.

“It is fair that they would like to make these toys, but to advertise them as toys for kids, it’s horrible because they’re so far away from being toy. They must be banned from being toys. 

Ms Bailey stated that she gave Calpol to her stomach ache.

“The following morning she was insistent that she wanted to go school, but the teachers called me and said they would have to take her to school because she had been sick.

“I put it down as a stomach virus, but she continued to be sick until the pain became unbearable. 

“It continued for quite some time so I thought surely it wasn’t just a virus or sickness because normally that takes 24 hours. She finally said that she had taken four magnetic balls. 

‘I was panicking. I knew that organs can be burned by the attraction of each other, so I didn’t worry about it.

‘It was a mad rush from then – she was sick in my car on the way to A&E and when we got to hospital she was screaming in agony, it was horrible.

“They initially talked about keeping her inside and waiting to see if she was passing through them, but the next thing they told her that she would need emergency surgery. 

“Doctors told Melody that they were lucky because it is possible for them to end up with stomas, having all of their bowels removed, or even life-threatening.

Melody in hospital

Melody in hospital

Parents were warned by doctors about the dangers of small magnet balls. At least four Stockport children had to have surgery in the first year. Pictured, Melody in hospital

Ms Bailey, a support worker for people with learning difficulties, shared video of Melody crying in pain before her surgery on July 15, to raise awareness of the dangers of toy magnets

Support worker for individuals with learning disabilities, Ms Bailey shared video of Melody in pain prior to her July 15th surgery. This was to help raise awareness about the dangers associated with toy magnets

“It was such a relief to find out that the doctors were not there and that everything was okay. 

A national patient safety alert has been issued by the NHS advising all hospitals and doctors that such cases must be considered an emergency. 

Simon Kenny is the NHS England National Clinical Director for Children and Young People. He said that magnets can be a great source of interest for kids. However, they shouldn’t ever be sold. 

Doctors previously warned parents against the potentially fatal effects of the small magnetic balls, which left at least four children in Stockport needing surgery at the beginning of last year. 

Six-year-old girl developed a perforated stomach after swallowing an inadvertent magnetic ball bearing.

Libbie Walker required major surgery. Her scar runs seven inches from her abdomen button to her hip.