Milwaukee boy, 4, loses parts of colon, intestines after swallowing magnets from Christmas gift

MILWAUKEE (ABC) — A 4-year-old Wisconsin boy is spending the holidays in the hospital after a Christmas present sent him into surgery. The boy had to have part of his colon and intestines removed because he ingested parts of a popular magnetic toy.

A few pieces of plastic cost a 4-year-old part of his Christmas holiday and his health. Beck White is now in Children’s Hospital, reports WTMJ.

His mom says at first she thought her son had the flu when the day after Christmas he got very sick.

“He started to vomit a very dark color,” said mom Jennifer White. “It looked like coffee grounds. At that point I knew something was very wrong.”

Jennifer White and her husband rushed Beck to their local hospital in Appleton before he was sent to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee for surgery. They say an X-ray showed her son had swallowed the magnets inside of his toy.

“He had swallowed 13 of them,” White said. “He snapped them right open and started to ingest them. And of course we had no idea.”

Once the magnet were inside him, Jennifer said they started to cut holes in his intestines.

“When he individually ingested them, they were doing what magnets do and trying to get to each other through his intestines and it created holes in the lining, so they had to fix those,” White said.

Jennifer says Beck is autistic, so they are usually very careful with his toys. But now she says she will not bring any toys with small magnets into their home.

“I really thought these were safe,” White said. “Absolutely thought he would be okay. If I had an inkling that this would have happen I would have just got rid of them.”

Beck is expected to recover, but he will be in the hospital at least a few more days. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns no high powered magnets should be in homes with kids.

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