If you’ve spent any time with a toddler, then you know they are curious beings. Children between the ages of six months and three years old are at high risk of accidentally ingesting foreign objects into their bodies, due to their innate curiosity of putting things into their mouths, noses and ears. Luckily, most foreign body ingestions, if swallowed, can pass on their own, and can be removed from ear and nose canals with the help of an Urgent Care (like us!) or Emergency Room professional. Nonetheless, it can definitely be scary when you realize that your little one has just swallowed a coin, or shoved an eraser up their nose.
The amount of emergency room visits due to ingestions has double since 1995, and 97% of foreign body ingestions occur in the home. A good rule of thumb is that anything that can fit through a toilet paper roll is a potential choking hazard for children, and should be out of the reach of small children. Young boys beat out young girls in likelihood to swallow foreign objects, at 53% compared to 47%. The most common objects that end up swallowed to shoved into a small crevice of the body are coins, toys (such as marbles), jewelry (such as earrings) and batteries. Not surprisingly, boys are more likely to ingest items such as coins, screws or nails; whereas girl are more likely to invest jewelry or hair products.
Healthy children with normal gastrointestinal tracks typically pass any kind of lodged item from esophagus to stomach within a couple of hours with no complications. Other items, such as large, sharp or high risk objects to the stomach, may be removed with a bougie or balloon catheter. It is very rare of a foreign body ingestion to require surgical intervention.
More often than not, a foreign object ingestion can be easily treated. However, should your little one ingest some kind of foreign object, be sure to contact a medical professional to ensure the proper treatment plan is implemented. As always, the staff at Your Kid’s Urgent Care is in the office until 11 p.m. daily to lend a helping hand should a child in your family be suspected of ingesting a foreign object.
Contact the Your Kid’s Urgent Care office nearest if you have other questions or concerns about foreign object ingestions!
Resources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430915/, https://www.thepediablog.com/2019/04/25/keep-out-of-reach-of-children-2/.