Little ones learn about their surroundings by feeling, touching or putting everything in their mouth. Grabbing something and trying to ingest them is their own way of understanding the world when they are very small.
Swallowing everything from coins, buttons or batteries is quite common, and since all of this is easy to find by them, all that shines has to go inside their mouth.
Children think that everything is food when they are very small, and try to eat it. Touch, taste, chew and then swallow – that`s the only direction they know when getting their hands on something. Swallowing various objects, such as coins, batteries or marbles, are common issues for most parents of a small child.
Table of Contents
- 1 Symptoms of Internal Damage
- 2 Emergency Situations
- 3 Determining if the Coin Is Stuck
- 4 How Long It Takes for a Swallowed Penny to Pass?
- 5 What Happens to the Penny?
- 6 What to Do when your Child Swallows a Coin?
- 7 Options of Treatment
- 8 Tips to Prevent your Child from Swallowing a Coin
Symptoms of Internal Damage
The very first thing you have to do is take a breath and examine your little one for any symptoms. If he breathes fine, you probably won`t have to do much else.
You shouldn`t worry too much yet, but you should know from the start that there`s always even a small chance for internal damage to happen when the child swallows a coin. Since he has a very small throat, it might lead to tearing or it might just get stuck in his digestive tube.
In any of these possible cases, the little one might exhibit:
- Chest pain.
- Difficulty when swallowing.
- Bloody stools.
- Neck pain.
However, in 90% of all situations the little ones will be fine since a coin isn`t that large, so there may not be a real reason to worry.
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It is essential to be aware that swallowing foreign objects should be considered a case of emergency that may even warrant a trip to the hospital. If your little one cannot breathe right or he`s in any distress, you have to look for medical assistance right away.
Determining if the Coin Is Stuck
Your kid may swallow a coin without necessarily it getting stuck. It will end up in his tummy and then will pass through his stools. However, at times the penny could remain in his esophagus. The little one could perhaps still breathe, but he may experience pain or any other distressing signs.
If the coin gets stuck, your kid might experience pain in the area of his throat, neck or chest. He may feel the coin being stuck. Excess saliva, drooling, spiting or gagging are all frequent signs that should signal you something is wrong.
When younger children are concerned, fussiness or excessive crying might signal a problem. Get in touch with the doctor or take the little one to the ER or emergency room if you might think the coin is stuck. – Check this out!
How Long It Takes for a Swallowed Penny to Pass?
At this moment you might be very worried because your young one has swallowed a penny or some kind of other foreign object. Most of the time, a penny or coin will pass by itself, causing no damage whatsoever as it doesn`t have any sharp edges, and eventually pass through the stool.
The penny passes through the entire digestive system and gets expelled 1 or 2 days later. Still, it`s required to pay attention to the little one. If any of the below cases happen, it might be a situation of emergency.
- The small one isn`t able to cry or speak, and experiences difficulties when breathing.
- He`s drooling and isn`t able to swallow food or water.
- The little one is breathing and coughing noisily.
- He can be seen choking.
- He`s vomiting and loses consciousness continuously. His little stomach may be upset as well.
If the little is doing fine, and doesn`t show any signs, then you can just wait for the foreign object to pass through his stool.
You should avoid giving him any drugs or other medications, such as laxatives, to help him with his process of excretion. Instead, you should consult a pediatrician.
What Happens to the Penny?
In most cases, the body will “take care” of the object. It sounds rather gross, thinking of all that waste found in the stool. For instance, corn cannot be digested by the human body, so it will come out through bowel movement. It`s exactly the same thing with a coin or penny.
The little one`s body realizes that the coin doesn`t offer any nutritional value, so it will try to discard it as fast as it can. Then, the coin will pass through the digestive system and end up in the stools.
Sometimes, even sharp, edgy objects pass through the digestive system without leading to any serious internal damage.
Pennies or batteries are quite common foreign objects to a small child to put in his mouth.
However, what will happen if the coin gets stuck in his throat? This requires the attention of a physician. While most parents typically go with the flow if the child doesn`t experience any obvious side effects, doctors recommend a quick trip for an x-ray.
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Lots of mothers will opt for examining the stool of their child in order to see if the coin has went out through the stools.
If you manage to find the coin in the stools of the little one and no other negative effects are seen, there`s not any reason to worry.
Coins which should make you worry are the large ones, some of which have appeared after 1982.
What to Do when your Child Swallows a Coin?
If your kid is breathing right and doesn`t experience any abnormal signs, you may be tempted to wait and see if the coin passes through his stools by itself. While this happens most of the time, it`s also best to get in touch with a doctor just in case. He`ll be able to better evaluate the situation and make a proper determination whether or not is anything that is needed to be done now.
A doctor should also be consulted if you aren`t sure what kind of foreign object the little one has swallowed. Small batteries or buttons are harmful if they are swallowed. They might burn some of the holes in the child`s esophagus in no time. Magnets or objects with sharp edges are very harmful as well. You can rule out any dangerous outcomes by visiting a pediatrician.
Don`t sweep the finger into the little one`s throat or mouth in an attempt to get the coin out. You might just lodge the object even further in his throat and cause even more damage. – Find out more!
It is best to avoid giving the kid syrup of ipecac to make him vomit the penny as well. This particular method is useless in getting coins or foreign objects out of the esophagus or stomach.
Options of Treatment
So, the first thing you should to do to stay on the safe side if your child is experiencing signs after swallowing a penny is consult a doctor. The treatment may involve some of the following:
- An x-ray is the first thing included in the treatment and, obviously, the most important.
- The doctor will then use an endoscope to remove the foreign object.
- The doctor might also advise a wait & see approach.
The endoscope may involve anesthesia, and then inserting a very small object through the child`s esophagus to grab the penny or other foreign object the little one might have swallowed. Although this consists a surgery form, it is a mild one where your kid won`t be cut or anything like that.
In many situations, the endoscope is the only surgery form required.
When the penny has passed into the small one`s stomach, there is some chance that it may pass through the stools as well. This is what you`ll want – the wait & see approach. If the child has swallowed, let`s say, a battery and has been found in his stomach, the physician might advise to remove they battery as it might lead to other severe internal issues.
It is quite easy to swallow small, foreign objects, especially circular ones.
Tips to Prevent your Child from Swallowing a Coin
Never let the little one play with money, bills included. Besides the risk that involves the swallowing of the foreign object, money passes through lots of hands and, thus, contains endless bacteria and germs as well.
Not only coins and pennies, but your kid should always avoid playing with very small objects, like dolls or cars, especially if they have removable little parts. Besides from swallowing these parts, your small one can insert them into his nose as well, which as you can guess is just as bad. – More info!
You have to be even more careful than usual when being outside when it comes to bugs, caterpillars, insects or beetles, which the little one can place into his mouth without realizing what they are exactly, being so little and all.