Eight-year-old schoolboy dies after ‘swallowing ten magnets’ following dangerous TikTok trend
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: xiao zhou/Cavan Images/Getty Images
Social media trends can be fun activities for everyone, however, there are those which have serious implications and can even prove to be fatal.
Unfortunately, a simple TikTok trend may be the cause of the death of an eight-year-old boy after the coroner came out to confirm that the little boy tragically died as a result of swallowing magnets.
The boy may have followed a TikTok craze which showed a person putting one magnet on the inside of his cheek and another on the outside to mimic a dimple piercing.
However, something must have gone wrong during the trend as the coroner report found that his small intestine was perforated by ten 3mm silver round magnets which had stuck together in a 30mm row in his bowel.
Police went on to find a video of him talking to his brother about popularising his social media profiles by doing stunts that were 'a bit dare devil..like drinking hot sauce'.
The video found was recorded on 19 September, just ten days before his death.
It was then that his stomach issues began, though the true reality of his pain wasn’t known by his mother or medical professionals.
His mum said to the Daily Mail: “He was doubled over screaming. I gave him Calpol thinking it was wind. It did not seem to settle him much.”
With another child ill with the cold, she decided to take both boys to the Harrogate District Hospital A&E department, where his abdomen was examined, and he was cleared to go home after being given more painkillers and anti-fever medication.
Rhys was then picked up by his dad, Richard Millum, for the weekend, where he took a turn for the worst.
Through Saturday and Sunday, Rhys struggled to eat and drink and vomited often.
There were moments where he appeared to perk up, however, it didn’t last long, and he would continue to feel sick.
But on Sunday evening, while Millum was bathing his sibling, Rhys came into the room and claimed that he could no longer see, before sitting down and losing consciousness.
His father tried to revive his son and called an ambulance and the paramedics worked on him while in the flat and ambulance before taking him to intensive care.
Rhys went on to suffer a heart attack at the hospital and was placed on life support but never regained consciousness.
It was only during the postmortem days later that the magnets were found.
Northallerton Coroner's Court was informed that the magnets were given to Rhys and his brother by a family friend and are marketed as fun toys for children.
Rhys’s mother said: “We did try to brainstorm why he would put them into this mouth. Someone mentioned this TikTok thing and thought it might be that.
“Richard had mentioned the balls to me. He got them for the boys to make sculptures out of them.”
However, they had never seen Rhys put the magnets into his mouth and claimed that he loved to play with them often.
A police forensic examination of his tablet confirmed that he didn’t have a TikTok account but the coroner, Mrs Catherine Cundy, said: “I do note they (the police) found a video of him playing with his brother, showing Rhys was a least aware of the concept of social media challenges and would have had access to social media platforms like YouTube and may have seen people using magnets in this way.
“This was a wholly tragic series of events. Rhys did not understand the dangers of swallowing these magnets and did not tell anyone he had swallowed them or link them to his symptoms.
“I know these magnetic balls are legal to sell. I hope the tragedy of Rhys's death will at least highlight the dangers particularly to children who might swallow them, accidentally or deliberately, without being aware of the dangers.”