Rare-Earth Magnets Swallowed by Florida Teen

December 5, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Rare-earth magnets were swallowed by 14-year-old Christin Rivas in Melbourne, Florida causing family members to rush her to the hospital.

The small magnets are sometimes called “buckeyballs” and are pea-sized.

Christin thought she could “freak out” her classmates by using the magnets for tricks, such as pulling a pen up the wall while standing in a neighboring classroom at school, reported ABC.

The seventh-grader accidentally swallowed the magnets.

She underwent emergency surgery so that the magnets wouldn’t perforate her stomach.

“I do feel it was one of those stupid kid moments,” said Christin. “I was going to the bathroom and I put them in my mouth because I didn’t want to put them on the floor. I wasn’t quite thinking. The kid on the other side said something that made me laugh and swallow them.

“I started to try to make myself throw up because I read they were really dangerous and got really worried,” she said. “I told my teacher, and she sent me to the clinic and they called my mom.”

The swallowed magnets were made of neodymium, an element which begins to chip and erode if it hit stomach acid. Rare-earth magnets are a unique health hazard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say. The magnets have caused at least one death and 19 injuries since 2003.

Barbara Rivas, Christin’s mother, found out about the danger after doing a quick search online after hearing her daughter swallowed them, and subsequently rushed Christin to the hospital.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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