Take care - children tend to swallow dangerous objects!
Children are a curious lot. They love to examine everything they see and impulsively put things into their mouth, especially if they are teething. This habit, seen mostly in children aged 6 months to 5 years, is an extremely dangerous one as they might accidently swallow the object/a piece of the object, which can choke them or damage their gastrointestinal tract. Hence it is very important for parents to keep a close watch on children during playtime to prevent such accidents.
Objects children usually swallow
A child can swallow any object that is small enough to pass through the pharynx like coins, buttons, small pencils/ pens or their tops, small batteries, safety pins, hairpins, needles, erasers, loose magnets, pieces of jewellery etc. Swallowing bigger things like bottle caps, whistles, toys or pieces of toys can lead to choking, which at times can prove fatal. Though some objects pass safely through the gut and get ejected out of the body with faeces, others - especially metal pieces or those with with sharp corners - are highly dangerous as they can lodge in the gastrointestinal tract and cause life-threatening damages.
There is one more thing that parents need to extremely careful about - medicines. Capsules, tablets, syrups, topical medicines – children might swallow anything in large quantities and the after-effects can be unpredictable and sometimes even fatal. So always remember to store medicines in a place that’s not easy to access and ensure all old medicines are discarded, safely.
How to make out if a child has swallowed something dangerous
- Choking and vomiting
- Local pain or bleeding in the back of the throat, depending on the texture of the object
- Drooling, vomiting, painful swallowing, pain in the chest or throat and gagging may occur, if the object gets stuck in the chest
If an object gets lodged in the GI tract, the child may show the symptoms like:
- Refusal to feed in infants
- Unexplained weight loss
- Vomiting blood
- Blood in the stool
- Severe chest infection
The scariest part is that, at times, even if the child has swallowed something, he or she might not show any symptoms immediately. The only way to not let this happen is close supervision, at all times. Parents or those taking care of the child should always, as a habit, keep away dangerous things from the reach of children, and also ensure the child does not bite on anything that is potentially dangerous. And if at all such a situation arises, DO NOT WAIT OR IGNORE. Take the child to the nearest medical facility as soon as possible and ensure immediate care, without fail.