What To Do If Your Child Swallows A Foreign Object

DocChildThroat.jpgWhile most moms like to think they have eyes in the back of their head, it can be difficult to keep track of your child every second of every day. Because infants and toddlers are naturally curious, they tend to put various items in their mouths, putting them at high risk for swallowing a foreign object. In some instances, your child may be able to pass the object; however, some cases may require surgery.

THE RISK

The majority of people that swallow foreign objects are under the age of 3. Infants and toddlers left unsupervised are at an increased risk. It’s important to keep the following objects out of the reach of children under the age of 3:

  • Coins
  • Small batteries
  • Buttons
  • Marbles
  • Rocks
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Pins
  • Small magnets

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IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM

The most common symptoms that can help you know if your child has swallowed a foreign object are choking, difficulty breathing, coughing and wheezing. If the object has already passed onto the digestive tract, there may be no immediate symptoms. If the item has become lodged in the esophagus or bowel, your child may experience vomiting, drooling, gagging, chest or throat pain, refusal to eat, abdominal pain and fever.

TREATING THE PROBLEM

If your child is unable to breath because the foreign object has blocked the airway, emergency treatment is necessary. You may be able to remove the object by using back blows, the Heimlich maneuver, or CPR. If you suspect a battery has been swallowed, your child should be seen immediately. Batteries can cause erosion of the wall of the GI tract and will need to be removed.

If the object appears to be swallowed completely with no choking necessary, you may be able to wait for it to pass naturally. If the foreign object is causing pain or damage to the bowels, surgery may be needed.

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If your child has swallowed a foreign object that needs to be removed immediately, consider visiting Medical City Children’s Urgent Care. We have pediatricians that are board certified, offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it and are even open after hours or on the weekend.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.

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