This is what to do if your child swallows a foreign object

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This is what to do if your child swallows a foreign object
This is what to do if your child swallows a foreign object

Children often put things in their mouths. If you are not careful, this object can be swallowed. Swallowing things you shouldn't swallow, such as buttons, coins, or safety pins, can be very dangerous. Therefore, know what to do if your child swallows a foreign object

Foreign objects that enter the mouth will generally enter the digestive tract, starting from the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and finally reaching the anus. However, the foreign body can get stuck in the digestive tract, and most often is in the esophagus.

Here's what to do if your child swallows a foreign object - Alodokter

Foreign bodies are often stuck in the esophagus because this tube has a soft and small tube-like shape. In addition, there are sections that narrow at some points. If the foreign object has passed through the esophagus, it is hoped that the object can descend until it comes out of the anus with feces.

What Happens if a Child Swallows a Foreign Body?

Foreign objects can enter the mouth either intentionally or not. This case is most often found in children, especially those aged 6 months to 3 years, because of their curiosity.

All foreign objects that are ingested can have serious consequences. However, there are some foreign objects that are very dangerous if swallowed by a child, such as magnets, button batteries, and sharp foreign objects. Here is the explanation:

  • Magnets

    If a child swallows more than 1 magnet, this is an emergency condition because the magnets can attract each other in the body, damaging the body. stomach or intestines, and trigger blood poisoning.

  • Button batteries

    Button batteries have an electric charge that can flow through the tissue of the esophagus. The electric charge of a button battery generates heat that can burn tissue and perforate the wall of the esophagus.

  • Sharp objects

    Fatal effects can also occur if the child swallows sharp objects, such as safety pins, pieces of glass, or broken metal. This foreign body can tear the wall of the esophagus, causing bleeding, or infection in the chest cavity.

Swallowing foreign objects can also occur intentionally due to the habit of eating unusual objects. This disorder is known as pica.Pica is an eating disorder that causes a person to compulsively eat things that are not food and have no nutritional value.

This disorder is most common in children and pregnant women. Pica can become dangerous if the sufferer eats toxic substances, such as metals or detergents.

Handling for Children Swallowing Foreign Objects

If your child swallows a foreign object, you should immediately take him to the hospital to be examined by a doctor. You also need to go to the emergency room (ER) immediately if your child suddenly can't speak, coughs, or cries, has difficulty breathing, or has wheezing.

Before removing the swallowed foreign object, the doctor will conduct an X-ray or CT scan to confirm the location of the object. After knowing the location and type of ingested object, the doctor can estimate the possible impact.

The treatment given by the doctor varies, depending on the type of foreign object swallowed by the child. In principle, all types of treatment aim to remove the foreign object from the child's body.

Here are some actions that can be taken if a child swallows a foreign object:

  • Magnet

    If the child swallows 1 magnet, the doctor will observe and wait for the magnet to come out naturally from the anus. However, if 2 or more magnets are swallowed, the doctor will perform surgery to remove the magnets from the child's body.

  • Button battery

    Take your child to the ER immediately if he swallows a button battery. If your child is older than 1 year, you can give him 2 teaspoons of honey every 10 minutes until you get to the hospital to prevent injury to the throat. Once the battery enters the hull, conditions are safer.

  • Sharps

    Immediately go to the ER if your child swallows a sharp object. Objects that are 1 inch or larger can get lodged in the esophagus or enter the throat and block breathing. Do not attempt to remove the object yourself as this may cause more damage.

If your child swallows something small, round, and shows no signs of a problem, the doctor may advise you to drink water.

If the foreign object can get down easily, the doctor will advise you to give the child a piece of bread so that the swallowed foreign object can be pushed down and later out with the feces.

The doctor can also try to remove the foreign body with an endoscopic procedure, using a small pair of binoculars to be inserted through the mouth. If the foreign object is blocking the esophagus, is sharp, contains electricity, and has a potentially fatal impact, the doctor will perform an endoscopy as soon as possible.

If the endoscopy doesn't work, the doctor needs to re-confirm the location of the foreign body with an X-ray or CT scan. Surgery will be recommended if the foreign object swallowed by the child is sharp, does not come out naturally with feces, or is at risk of damaging the intestines if left untreated.

To prevent harmful effects, immediately consult a doctor if your child swallows a foreign object. Don't try to remove it yourself, as doing so will risk more serious consequences. Remember, proper handling when a child swallows a foreign object will reduce the risk of complications.

Written by:

dr. Sonny Seputra, M.Ked.Klin, SpB, FINACS(Surgeon Specialist)

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