How to Handle the Inevitable —"You Swallowed What?!"
It’s practically a rite of passage for parenthood…that moment when your child swallows something they’re definitely not supposed to swallow. In fact, a recent study showed that over 759,000 children under the age of six ended up in the emergency room between 1995 and 2015 after swallowing objects.
What Weird Objects Are Kids Swallowing?
The object that was swallowed most often was (unsurprisingly) coins. Toys were second, jewelry third, and batteries took fourth place.
Interestingly, boys were more likely to end up in the E.R. than girls, as were children who were only 1-years-old.
Why Is My Child Trying to Swallow Random Objects?
It’s not surprising that so many kids end up swallowing something other than food…kids love to use their mouths to explore the world!
The act of children and babies placing EVERYTHING (!!!) into their mouth is referred to as “mouthing.” This is how they learn to develop and sharpen their senses—and, give parents extra anxiety…
Should You Seek Medical Attention?
Luckily, for many inanimate object little ones can usually pass the object through a bowel movement within a few days. However, if your child is vomiting, having trouble breathing, or experiencing stomach pain, they should be taken to the emergency room. In the instance that your child swallows a battery, immediate emergency medical attention is required, as batteries can cause chemical burns.
You should also call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 800-498-8666
As with any medical concern, always consult your child’s physician or dial 9-1-1 in case of an emergency.
Steps to Prevent Swallowing Objects
To keep your child from swallowing objects in the first place, make sure to childproof when possible. If you have a junk drawer—and let’s be real, who doesn’t?!—use these handy magnets to keep the drawer closed. That way, even when your child learns how to open drawers, they can’t get into the one with loose change and tacks.
When it comes to toys, try to choose ones that don’t have small detachable parts. That’ll help you worry less about your chid swallowing a part of the toy…and it’ll make clean-up easier!
Always keep batteries in a secure location that children cannot reach like a high shelf with a magnetic lock on it.