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What to Do If Your Child Swallows a Foreign Object


As you think about what to buy your children for the holiday season, it is important to keep toy safety in mind. Choking on or swallowing small pieces from toys is a possibility for young children. Keep your children safe and know what to do if your child swallows a foreign object.

Toy Safety Tips

  • Be sure the toy is age appropriate.
  • Avoid toys with small parts.
  • Avoid toys that launch projectiles.
  • Avoid toys with electric heating.
  • Avoid toys with sharp parts or edges.
  • Demonstrate how to safely use each toy.
  • Supervise your children as they use the toy.
  • Throw away all wrappings and containers immediately.
  • Only get toys that have the “ASTM” safety label.
  • Consider the safety hazard of the leading cause of toy-related injury.

Dangerous Items

Buttons, coins, and marbles are objects that children commonly swallow and are usually harmless unless it blocks the air passage. There are certain items that need emergency medical attention if swallowed. Take your child to the emergency room if any of these are swallowed:

  • Sharp or pointed objects
  • Magnets
  • Batteries
  • Medications not prescribed for the child
  • Poison

If Your Child Swallows A Foreign Object

If your child swallows an object and is able to make sounds and/or cough, allow him or her to try coughing the object out of the airway. Take your child to the emergency room if he or she is unable to cough it out or if it is causing pain. If your child swallows a foreign body and is unable to cough or make sound, he or she may be choking and unable to breathe. If your child is over the age of one, call 911 and begin the heimlich maneuver.

  • Stand behind the child and wrap your arms around the waist.
  • With your hand in a fist, place the thumb-side just above the belly button.
  • With your other hand, grasp your fist.
  • Give quick upward thrusts into the belly until the object is dislodged or the child faints.

If the child is unconscious and not breathing, call 911 and begin CPR.

  • Place the child on his or her back.
  • Place the heel of your hand in the center of the child’s chest along the nipple line.
  • Perform 30 quick chest compressions, letting the chest rise completely before pressing down again.
  • Remove the lodged object only if you can see it.

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