Children are curious and frequently put objects in their mouths. You can make your child safer by keeping a close eye on them.

Swallowed objects: What all parents need to know
 Most children taken to an emergency room because of a swallowed object were seen putting the object in their mouth. But sometimes a child swallows something without an adult seeing it.

From marbles, toys, buttons, earrings, and rings, to paper clips, toothpicks, screws, and nails, children between the ages of six months and three years are most likely to swallow something they shouldn’t.

While some non-food objects are harmless to a child when swallowed, others can be hazardous.

What is safe and what is not?

The first red flag item is button batteries, the little round batteries used in everything from toys and remote control gadgets to hearing aids, thermometers, and musical greeting cards. “If you find your child swallowing a button battery, bring them to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible,” Dr Gala says.

When batteries are exposed to the fluids of the oesophagus or stomach, they can begin to leak harmful and corrosive substances. As early as two hours after intake, vital organs can be damaged. Suppose the battery becomes lodged in the oesophagus. In that case, the electrical discharges and chemicals from the battery can burn a hole in the tissue, causing harm to adjacent organs and impairing breathing.

Give your youngster honey while you’re on your way to the ER. A recent study discovered that honey might protect the oesophagus for a limited duration.

Objects with points

Sharp objects, like pins, needles, nails, screws, or broken toys with sharp edges, are also a major source of concern. These have the potential to pierce the oesophagus, stomach, or intestine. When a child swallows a sharp object, emergency department doctors will frequently urge removal based on the object’s size and its location in the digestive tract to reduce the chance of catastrophic harm.


Magnets are also on the list of red flags. When two small magnets are eaten together, as can happen when a young kid is permitted to play with refrigerator magnets or magnetic toys like Buckyballs®, they can pinch and harm intestinal tissue. Even if only one magnet is swallowed, it can cause tissue damage when it is drawn to a metal object outside the body, such as a child’s clothing’s metal buttons. Call your doctor if you notice your child swallowing a magnet. Imaging may be required to ensure that the object is safely travelling through the digestive system.

The best course of treatment

Doctors don’t always agree on the appropriate course of action if your child has swallowed a smaller, blunt object and isn’t showing any signs of distress. Some believe it’s fine to watch your child’s stool to see if the object makes its way out. Most small things that children swallow move safely through their stomachs and out within a few days. Other doctors may advise an X-ray or ultrasound to determine the item’s location and advise on the best course of treatment.

Warning signs of trouble

Coughing, drooling, bloody saliva, gagging, fever, refusal to eat, and vomiting are all signs that something is wrong with your child. Another indicator is pain in their neck, chest, or throat. If your child has these symptoms, go to the emergency department straight away.

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