What To Do If Your Baby Accidently Swallows An Object?

  • 13 months ago
4 minute read.
What To Do If Your Baby Accidently Swallows An Object?

The joy of watching your baby explore the world around them can be both thrilling and nerve-wracking. As they curiously grasp and examine everything in their tiny hands, there's always a slight worry in your mind: What if they accidentally swallow something they shouldn't?

As a parent, it's natural to worry about the safety and well-being of your baby. One common concern is the possibility of your little one swallowing a foreign object. While the thought alone can send shivers down any parent's spine, it's crucial to stay calm and equipped with the knowledge of how to respond if your little one happens to swallow a foreign object.

How do you know if a child swallowed something?

If you suspect your child has swallowed something, it's essential to remain calm and take appropriate steps to assess the situation. Look out for these signs:

  1. Choking or coughing: If the child is choking, it may indicate that the object is stuck in their airway. They may have difficulty breathing, cough excessively, or have a high-pitched wheezing sound.
  2. Difficulty swallowing: The child may experience discomfort or pain while swallowing. They may refuse to eat or drink, drool excessively, or have a hoarse voice.
  3. Abdominal pain: If the object has made its way into the digestive system, the child may complain of stomach pain, cramping, or discomfort.
  4. Vomiting or regurgitation: The child may vomit repeatedly or bring up the swallowed object.
  5. Breathing difficulties: Severe cases may result in breathing difficulties, rapid breathing, or even turning blue (cyanosis). It is a medical emergency, and you should immediately call emergency services.
  6. Behavioral changes: Depending on the age, they may display unusual behavior such as irritability, restlessness, or lethargy.

Types of objects swallowed by children

Some common types of objects that children may swallow:

  • Coins
  • Small toys
  • Button batteries
  • Magnets
  • Marbles
  • Hair accessories
  • Balloons
  • Rocks
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Pins

[Also try: Home-made toys for your baby]

What are the treatments?

The treatment for a child who has swallowed an object depends on various factors, including the type and size of the object, whether the child is experiencing any symptoms, and if the object is causing an obstruction or other complications. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Stay calm: It's essential to remain calm and composed during the situation to think clearly and take appropriate actions.
  2. Assess the situation: Determine if the child is experiencing any immediate distress or difficulty breathing. If the child has signs of severe distress, choking, or difficulty breathing, it is crucial to seek emergency medical assistance immediately. Call your local emergency number or take the child to the nearest emergency room.
  3. Don't induce vomiting: In most cases, you should avoid trying to induce vomiting in a child who has swallowed a foreign object. The reason behind this is that the object may become lodged in the throat, which can block the airway and lead to more severe complications. Additionally, some things may cause injury if brought back up forcefully.
  4. Encourage coughing: If the child is coughing forcefully, it can be a positive sign that their body is trying to expel the object naturally. Encourage them to continue coughing and provide reassurance. However, if the child is unable to cough or experiencing significant distress, medical intervention is necessary.
  5. Observe and monitor: If the child is not showing signs of distress and is breathing normally, you can closely observe them to see if the object passes naturally. Keep a watchful eye on their behavior, stool, and any changes in their symptoms. It's essential to remember that even small objects can sometimes cause complications, so medical attention is still advisable.
  6. Contact a healthcare professional: Call your child's pediatrician or take them to an emergency room. Explain the situation, the object swallowed, and the child's symptoms. The healthcare professional will guide you on the appropriate steps based on the specific circumstances.
  7. Diagnostic tests: Depending on the situation, the healthcare professional may order diagnostic tests to assess the position and potential risks associated with the swallowed object. Usual tests include X-rays, ultrasounds, or endoscopy.
  8. Non-operative management: If the object is small, smooth, and in a favorable position, the medical team may opt for non-operative management. This approach involves monitoring the child, encouraging regular eating and drinking, and waiting for the object to pass naturally. They may advise you on signs to watch out for, such as abdominal pain, blood in stool, or changes in breathing, which may indicate complications.
  9. Endoscopic removal: If the object is large, sharp, or causing symptoms, an endoscopy procedure may be recommended. This procedure involves the insertion of a thin, flexible tube with a camera (endoscope) through the mouth or rectum to locate and remove the object. Endoscopy allows the medical team to visualize the object and safely extract it, reducing the risk of further complications.
  10. Surgical intervention: In rare cases where the swallowed object is causing severe complications, such as intestinal blockage or perforation, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgery aims to remove the object and repair any damage that may have occurred.


It is essential to be vigilant and take precautions to prevent your baby from swallowing foreign objects. If your baby has swallowed a small object like a button or coin, stay calm and take immediate action. Call emergency services or rush your baby to the hospital for professional medical attention.

Do not try to induce vomiting or remove the object yourself it may cause further harm. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so keep small objects out of their reach and supervise them while playing. By being cautious and taking prompt action in an emergency, you can help ensure your baby's safety and well-being.

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