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Child Swallows A Coin: What To Do

Children are curious little creatures who tend to touch and taste anything and everything in their line of sight - It’s their way of exploring the world. Buttons, batteries, marbles, coins and even sand is not spared. Their logic is that if it fits in their mouth, then it’s supposed to be eaten. But what do you do after they swallow these foreign objects or if they get stuck?

If and when your child swallows a coin, there are two possibilities - The coin may go into the stomach and the chances are that it will be expelled with stool or it might get stuck in the passage to the stomach which is when things could get dangerous. A few symptoms that suggest that the coin is stuck in the oesophagus are:

1. Difficulty in swallowing and refusing to eat and drink even when he’s hungry.

2. Continuous drooling i.e. dropping of saliva from the mouth.

3. Pain in the neck or chest.

4. A sudden increase in the body temperature.

Sometimes even when the coin is stuck, the child may continue to eat and swallow food without much difficulty. In such cases, the child might cough continuously which means the coin is causing inflammation, irritation of the oesophagal tissues and will eventually rupture the oesophagus.

When the coin gets stuck in the intestines and tears through the intestinal walls then you might see this translate as blood in stool, vomiting and severe stomach pain.

Take your child to the doctor as immediately as possible if you think the coin is stuck.

If your child isn't exhibiting any of the symptoms and seems to be doing well (which is almost 90% of the cases), then you can keep an eye on him and wait until he passes out the foreign object in his stool. Do not self-medicate by giving him laxatives to speed up the process or try and make him vomit. In any case, it’s better if you consult with your doctor.

What do you do?

- Keep a close eye on your child and observe every little thing he does closely.

- Bananas are a good option because they are soft and full of fibre. It might help move things along for your child.

- Check your child’s poop everytime he uses the loo for signs of the foreign object.

- Keep your child hydrated so that they don’t have any difficulty passing stools.

Once you take your child to the doctor, an X-ray will be done to determine the position of the object. The doctor will most likely recommend medicines that will help in passing out the coin. Surgical methods will only be used if the swallowed object is sharp and poses a threat of rupturing the gastrointestinal tract.  

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