If you were outside with your kids this summer, chances are at some point you encountered reusable water balloons. Because they’re more environmentally friendly, and they provide hours of entertainment over and over again. What kid doesn’t love water balloons? But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is now issuing a warning about these summer staples—they can also be dangerous.

Specifically, the high-powered magnets used to keep these balloons closed are what pose a safety issue. The magnets keep the water in and allow the balloons to easily open upon impact. However after multiple uses, the materials on the balloon may wear down and the magnets can fall out. Or a young child (or family pet) could chew on these balloonsand cause the magnet to come out as well.

If this happens, the magnets and other materials should be disposed immediately to prevent injury.

“These magnets, also called ‘rare-Earth’ magnets, are much stronger than other types of magnets,” The AAP says in a new statement. “If swallowed, they can attract each other within the body, causing serious damage to internal organs or death. They also can get stuck in the nose and cause serious injuries.” 

The AAP reports children who swallow magnets may experience abdominal pain, vomiting and fever. What’s truly scary is that because these symptoms are common in kids (especially now that school has started again), parents may not even realize their child has swallowed magnets right away.

“A recent study of patients at 25 children’s hospitals showed that more than half of children who swallowed high-powered magnets needed hospitalization,” the AAP statement continues. “Nearly half of the children required surgery and other procedures.”

Earlier this summer, one mom’s story of the damage these high-powered magnets caused her daughter went viral. Kelley Whitty of Morrow, Ohio, told “Good Morning America” her daughter Leah was swimming earlier this month at a family friend’s house, where they were playing with reusable water balloons.

At some point during playtime, things went south. Whitty’s friend called her to inform her that her daughter was injured.

“She was like, ‘Leah got out [of the pool], grabbed a towel, wiped her face and just started screaming,'” Whitty said. “She’s like, ‘We’re not sure what’s going on. She keeps saying she’s got burning and stinging in her nose.'”

After confirming with her friend that some of the balloons were missing magnets, doctors found them inside Leah’s nose. Doctors had to perform a small surgical procedure, during which they removed six small magnets from her nose.

“I could hear Leah crying and freaking out that it burned and stung and I could hear the fear in Jenn’s voice that something was really wrong, so immediately made the choice to meet them and get her to Childrens,” Whitty recounted.

Whitty’s story went viral on Facebook—she hopes by alerting other parents and caregivers to the potential dangers of reusable water balloons, she can prevent others from enduring what Leah did.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has called for policies to keep children safe from dangerous high-powered magnets. For now, parents can follow these safety tips from the AAP to protect your child from magnet-related injuries:

  • Get rid of any high-powered magnet products in your home.
  • Keep small or loose magnets away from children.
  • Supervise children when anyone is using magnets.
  • Do not use large sets of magnets. It is too hard to know if some of them are missing.
  • Talk to children and teens about the serious risk of using fake magnetic piercings in their mouths and noses. The magnets can be swallowed or inhaled accidentally.
  • Check product recalls at https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls. Sign up to receive safety alerts from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) at https://www.cpsc.gov/Newsroom/Subscribe. The CPSC recently announced a safety standard regarding high-powered magnets.