Sometimes children swallow tiny things such as small toys or little coins. Most of the time this is harmless, as the objects can pass through the digestive system and come out with the poo.
If objects get stuck in the oesophagus (food pipe) they may not pass into the stomach and a doctor will need to remove them.
- Trouble breathing: An object that blocks the airway is a true medical emergency. Immediately call the ambulance and perform abdominal thrust. Read more here.
- Battery: If a button battery is swallowed and gets stuck in the food pipe, it can burn through tissue in just two hours, causing severe injury or death.
- Magnets: A magnet can be dangerous when swallowed, especially if two or more are swallowed together.
- Poison: If the child swallowed something toxic or poisonous call for emergency or rush to a hospital immediately.
Signs of swallowed objects
Most children have no symptoms after swallowing an object. Sometimes, the swallowed object can become stuck in the oesophagus and your child has:
- trouble swallowing food
- pain in the chest or neck.
Very rarely, the object can become stuck in the stomach or intestines. Take your child to the hospital emergency department if they experience:
- ongoing vomiting
- tummy pain
- blood in their vomit or poo
- a fever
If your child is coughing or is having difficulty breathing, you should call an ambulance immediately.
Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (2 February 2020)