As a parent, one of the scariest situations you can find yourself in is when your child swallows or inhales a foreign object. This can happen to anyone, no matter how careful you are. The important thing is to know what to do when it happens.
In this article, we will discuss the risks, treatment, and prevention of accidental ingestion or inhalation of foreign objects.
Swallowing Foreign Objects
The risks of swallowing or inhaling a foreign object depend on the size, shape, and type of the object. Small objects such as buttons, beads, coins, and marbles can become lodged in the throat, while larger objects can get stuck in the oesophagus or cause damage to the lungs.
Here is a list of 10 of the most common foreign objects swallowed or inhaled by children
- Small toys
- Button batteries
- Safety pins
- Small parts from broken toys or household items
- Balloons or balloon fragments
- Food items such as popcorn kernels or grapes
Common symptoms of foreign object ingestion or inhalation include choking, coughing, gagging, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. In some cases, the object can cause an infection or damage to the digestive system.
Image Source: iStock
What to Do If Your Child Swallows a Foreign Object
If your child is choking and coughing, but still able to breathe, encourage them to cough the object out. If your child is unable to cough, but still breathing, stand behind the child and wrap your arms around the waist.
With your hand in a fist, place the thumb-side just above the belly button. With your other hand, grasp your fist. Give quick upward thrusts into the belly until the object is dislodged or the child faints. If the child is unconscious and not breathing, call an ambulance and begin CPR.
Can My Child Pass the Object Out of Their System
One common question parents may have when their child swallows a foreign object is whether or not the object will pass through their system and be excreted in their stool.
According to Seattle Children’s Hospital, for small, smooth objects less than 1/2 inch (12 mm) in size, checking the stool is not necessary as the object should pass through the digestive system without causing harm.
However, if your child has swallowed a larger or sharp object, or if they are experiencing symptoms such as abdominal pain or vomiting, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. In some cases, the object may need to be removed through endoscopy or surgery. It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your child’s health and safety.
How to Prevent Accidents with Foreign Objects
Preventing your child from swallowing or inhaling foreign objects is the best way to avoid this scary situation. Here are a few tips to help prevent it from happening:
- Keep small objects out of reach. This includes small toys, coins, buttons, and beads.
- Avoid giving your child foods that are difficult to swallow, such as popcorn, nuts, and hard candy.
- Supervise your child while they are eating, playing, and exploring their environment.
- Teach your child not to put objects in their mouth.
- Keep toxic substances, such as cleaning products and medications, out of reach and locked away.
Accidental ingestion or inhalation of foreign objects can be a scary situation, but knowing how to respond can help prevent serious injury. If your child does swallow or inhale a foreign object, stay calm and seek medical attention immediately if needed.
Remember, prevention is the best course of action, so take steps to keep your child safe by keeping small objects out of reach, supervising them closely, and teaching them not to put objects in their mouth.
Image source: iStock
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.