Family warns against kids toy after accident


WASHINGTON, Ind. (WEHT)- A Washington family is sending a warning to others about a kids toy that caused a huge scare for them.

Buckyballs, a tiny magnetic ball, turned dangerous after eight year old Ian Ridge accidentally swallowed seven of them.

The toy was banned by the consumer product safety commission but came back on the market after a judge’s ruling.

He’s doing O.K. now after surgery.

Tiny magnetic balls that draw kids in because of the way they bond together and make different shapes.

But for one little boy it wasn’t all fun and games. A week ago, this wasn’t how ian ridge was behaving.

We asked if he knew he wasn’t supposed to put them in his mouth. He says he did but he forgot. The eight year old is taking about buckyballs.

“There are these magnets. I really liked them but now I don’t,” Ian Ridge says.

Ian Ridge is one of, what experts say is, many kids who’ve done the same thing.

The strength of these magnets for being a kids’ toy is shocking. They can stick through different parts of your body on the outside, so imagine The damage they can do on the inside.

“They’ll go in different sections of the intestines and then they’ll find each other and stick to each other and basically burrow holes through the intestine to connect,” Evan Kokoska, Ian’s surgeon says.

His mom, Dani Fetherman says she knows he knew better.

“They’re children, he’s eight. We just had a conversation, not even a week prior to this, about putting things in our mouth because he had them in his mouth. But he just didn’t quite listen. I mean he’s a child,” Fetherman says.

She continues to say it happened so quickly. “He was watching TV playing with them in his mouth And he said suddenly they were in the back of my throat and if I didn’t swallow them I was gonna choke on them.”

Ian was was given a stimulant to try and pass the magnets naturally, he hoped.

“I just wanna use the bathroom and they come out,” Ian says.

But surgeon Evan Kokaska says it went better than some similar surgeries he’s done.

“Piece of intestine stuck up to the instrument as I was able to take a stapler and basically wedge excise all seven balls at the same time,” Kokoska explains.

Ian says the worst part wasn’t the IVs, feeding tube, or even surgery. But the mandatory COVID test.

“It burned my nose hole,” Ian explained.

His stitches are healing and Ian says he’s learned his lesson.

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(This story was originally published on May 21, 2020)

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