Patient EducationJul | 23 | 2019
My child swallowed something! What should I do?
If there is an emergency, call 911 or go to your closest emergency room. It depends what your child swallowed and whether his breathing is affected.
Call 911 if your child:
- Swallowed something that is causing severe pain, trouble swallowing, trouble breathing, choking or constant coughing
- Swallowed something sharp that is larger than a tack. (Most small, sharp objects, like tacks, will pass on their own without hurting your child.)
- Has severe, unexplained pain, especially in the belly area (This might mean he swallowed something without you knowing.)
Go to the closest emergency room if your child:
- Has an object stuck in his ear that is causing pain or bleeding
- Swallowed something and you are not sure what it was
What are the most dangerous household items that my child can swallow?
- Button batteries, such as those that power hearing aids or watches
- Magnets, especially if your child swallows more than one at once.
- Water beads (beads that expand when they absorb water)
- Household cleaning products or other poisonous products
- Laundry detergent pods
My child has something stuck is his nose or ears. What should I do?
It depends what the object is and whether it is causing pain or bleeding.
If the object is causing pain or bleeding or you are not sure what the object is, go to the closest emergency room. If the object is not causing pain or bleeding, call the pediatrician to ask what to do next.
How can I protect my child from swallowing things or gettings objects stuck is his ears or nose?
- Watch your child as much as possible.
- Childproof your home before your child learns to crawl. Change how you childproof the house as your child grows.
- When visiting friends and family, keep a close eye on your child. Others might not childproof their homes the same way or at all.
- Look at the world from your child’s perspective. Whatever you can see while kneeling is likely something your child can reach or get into.
- If you must step away, create a safe space for your child to be.
- Take a CPR training course at your local hospital, doctor’s office or community center. Knowing CPR is a no-risk, high-benefit way to save a life.
- Keep magnets, button batteries and household cleaning products locked away and out of your child’s reach.
- Make sure that anything with a removable battery compartment has screws to keep the compartment secure.