Coins, disc battery, battery cars, button battery, magnets, nuts, buttons, sharp objects are dangerous toys! I am an ENT surgeon. Some of the commonest emergency problems I face is foreign objects in ear nose or throat.
A foreign body is an object placed in the body where it’s not supposed to be. Children swallow coins, button battery, beads, other play objects. These can get stuck in the esophagus or food pipe.They can also enter the airway.
Or pass to the stomach and pass away in their poop. That’s the better way. If it gets stuck, it will need to be removed. The main problem is timely detection. Button battery is dangerous . If inside the food pipe for more than 3 hours, it can burn the lining of the food pipe and can be life-threatening.
Delayed removal can lead to chemical burn in the food pipe (from the leaching button). Battery car for kids and other battery toys playtime should be under parental supervision.
Other dangerous objects include: These are things kids aren’t allowed to play with ever !
- Safety pins,
- Medical foil
- Sharp objects.
How to suspect that child may have swallowed any of this?
- Difficulty breathing
- Vomiting food
- Unable to eat
When should you worry and hurry?
- Child turning blue gasping for breath
- Hoarse cry
- Rush to your nearest emergency. In case of last two, the object may be in the airway.
What can you do if you suspect a swallowed object and child is not able to confirm?
Visit the nearest emergency. The doctor can get an Xray done of the neck, chest, abdomen. This detects a radio-opaque foreign body like coin magnet, any metallic object.
For things made of nonmetallic substance, a CT scan may be needed depending on doctor’s advice.
A child may have a fish bone stuck in the throat. Your ENT doctor will be able to remove this if visible.Chicken or mutton bone need urgent intervention
Precautions parents should take:
- Watchful independence of the child.
- Always check his/her toys for loose pieces.
- Never give them small objects which they can insert in the mouth to play with. This is especially important during the time they are teething.
- Never give coins, magnets, safety pins to play with
- Avoid letting them play unsupervised.
- Visit your nearest emergency if in doubt. Precious minutes may be lost otherwise.
- Treatment may need intervention in the form of a pharyngoscopy or esophagoscopy depending on the location of the foreign body. Sometimes observation is done in case of a definitive diagnosis of coin in the lower part of the esophagus. All decisions need to be taken on a case to case basis according to patient particulars and available resources.
This information is meant for educational purpose and shouldn’t be taken as professional advice. Consult your doctor for personalized care. Read my full disclaimer here.
Do you have any tips to share?Write in the comments below