What to do if your child swallowed a foreign object

X-ray of wrench (source: Children's Hospital)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Children are curious, especially toddlers, and they often investigate by putting everything they can reach into their mouths. This can result in children accidentally swallowing all kinds of objects. Sometimes it’s serious enough to require surgery.

Dr. Glaze Vaughan, pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital, says the most common things kids swallow are coins, jewelry, buttons, small toys, and thumbtacks.

If your child swallows a button battery, don’t wait for it to pass on its own. In addition to becoming stuck in the child’s esophagus, they can cause chemical burns inside the body. Loose and high powered magnets, like tiny magnetic toy balls found in a set, if swallowed, can pull together and cause serious damage to the digestive system.

Sharp, pointed objects are dangerous as well.

You should go to the emergency room if your child has swallowed a button battery, magnet or sharp object; if the child has trouble breathing; if the child is gagging, vomiting, drooling or doesn’t want to eat or drink; or if the child has something stuck in his or her nose or ears.

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