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A schoolgirl panicked her mum when she got an entire magnet stuck up her nose and dangled two metal balls from the roof of her mouth.
Freya Reeves has been playing with 11-year-old sister Lauren Reeves and they were pretending they had lip and nose piercings using brightly-coloured toy magnets.
They placed two magnetic balls on either side of their tongues and noses to make it look as though they had fashionable face piercings and at some point, Freya inadvertently inhaled one up her nostril.
Mum Vikki Smith was only alerted to the situation when Freya declared "look Mum, I'm magnetic" later that evening and she saw two metal balls dangling from the roof of her mouth.
After attempts to blow the youngster's nose failed to shift it, the concerned 45-year-old rushed her to A&E where an x-ray discovered the small powerful purple magnet at the base of her nose.
Doctors tried to pluck it out using a pair of pincers to no avail, so quick-thinking nurse Vikki raced to her car for one of the magnetic bars in the toy kit that help connect pieces together.
This was placed on the end of the pincer, which was then re-inserted into Freya's nose and doctors managed to 'magnet fish' out the lodged ball – meaning she didn't have to undergo surgery.
The mum-of-two is sharing Freya's ordeal from November 2020, when she was eight, to educate parents about the potential dangers of these toys and urge parents not to buy them to prevent it happening again.
Vikki, from Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, said: "I rang the GP and was told to take her to A&E, which is what I did. The staff were great. Freya told them 'my face is magnetic' so they did the x-ray and indeed there it was. It was at the base of the nose and on the roof of the pallet.
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"ENT [doctors at hospital] popped a little camera into her nose and they could see it. They sprayed some numbing stuff into her nose and throat and they tried to get hold of it with pincers but it wouldn't come.
"Initially they tried three or four times and Freya struggled with that quite a lot, she didn't like it. I mentioned I had other magnets in the car and asked if they could use those to get it out, because otherwise she would have needed surgery.
"I went and got these connector bar magnets [that come with the toy] to make things. They put one on the end of the pincer and then put the pincer in through the nose and got the magnet ball onto the end of that and pulled it out that way.
"It was like magnet fishing – they were literally fishing with magnets inside her nose. The worst part for me was the last time they did it I literally pinned her down so she couldn't wriggle because the thought of putting her through a general [anaesthetic] was not really advisable. The whole thing took a good 20 minutes to get out.
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"I was so relieved when it popped out. There was no bleeding or anything to indicate it had ever been there. She was absolutely fine."
Freya had been playing with the toy magnets with Lauren on Sunday [November 16th] and the pair were warned several times by Vikki about the potential dangers of putting them in their mouths.
Vikki said: "On the Sunday the girls were playing with these magnets. Despite my advice they were trying to pretend they had a nose stud or a lip stud by putting one magnet on the inside and one on the outside.
"After numerous times of telling them 'stop it, it's dangerous', I thought they did [stop]. That evening Freya said 'look Mum I'm magnetic'. She put a couple of magnets to the roof of her mouth and they were hanging [down].
"I just thought 'oh dear god'. I said to her 'have you inhaled any?' and she said no. She knew that I wouldn't be very impressed as I'd been telling them all afternoon.
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"She found it hilarious and she thought it was quite impressive. Freya suffers with quite a lot of nosebleeds but there was no nosebleed, she had no problems breathing and I couldn't see anything, there was nothing to indicate that it was there.
"I tried to get her to blow her nose, nothing came out, then I just remember being a bit wary about it dislodging and if there were any in her tummy that I didn't know about."
Vikki said: "These toys are lethal. I would say to parents don't buy them, especially ahead of Christmas. I can see they're fun but it's not worth it at all.
"I can't understand why they're still so readily available. It's more than just a choking hazard, it's got lethal consequences in the event you swallow it.
"Mums and dads don't know they've swallowed them. Nine times out of ten, kids put things in their mouth and you're none the wiser. I wouldn't have known if she hadn't have said 'look Mum I'm magnetic'.
"I've seen where children have swallowed two or three magnets and they've eroded their abdomen. I think people underestimate the power of them. These are very powerful little magnets, I could stick a picture on my fridge with them.
"I would just avoid buying them at all costs. Lauren asked me to buy her some more this year and I just said 'no'. I don't know if children really understand the damage that could be done."
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