Kids learn about a new thing by grabbing, feeling, and putting it in their mouth. They tend to ingest toys, dolls, buttons, keys and coins during their exploration activities. Swallowing a coin is a common issue that most of the parents would have faced at some point of time. The coins attract the kids easily, as it falls down with a sharp sound, has shiny metallic look with an easy to hold design that makes the children put it straight in their mouth.
Even though swallowing a coin is a fun filled activity for the kids, it is a serious issue for their parents, who panic as soon as they find out that their child has swallowed a coin. Instead of panicking, it is always wise to stay calm and deal the issue like an expert. We help you to understand the symptoms you must lookout for, follow some first aid instructions, ways to retrieve the coin and the treatment to remove the coin.
What To Do When The Coin Is Stuck?
When the coin has passed into the throat of the child, then it would go into the stomach and will get out of the child’s digestive system within a period of 2 to 5 days. If the child is feeling extreme pain in the chest or abdomen then it is advisable to take the child to the pediatrician immediately to seek medical help.
Symptoms Of Kids Swallowing The Coin
If the coin swallowed goes through the child’s stomach, then it is possible for it to pass through the colon and get disposed through the stools. But, when the penny is trapped in the passages of the stomach, then it is a serious situation and risky too. If the coin swallowed by the child goes into the esophagus, then it would lead to one or more of the following symptoms mentioned below.
- The child might drool continuously
- Will have difficulty while swallowing food or water
- Pain in the chest or neck
- Crying profusely
First Aid For The Child Who Swallowed The Coin
As soon as the child has swallowed the coin, the parents must remain calm to handle the situation in the correct fashion. They can employ the first aid measures given below while trying to retrieve the coin.
1. Perform Airway Check: The parents can ask the child to open his or her mouth to check the position of the coin. If it is not visible, then it indicates that the coin is blocking the airway passage. Make use of a torch light to check the child’s mouth thoroughly.
2. Dislodge The Coin: It is important for the parents to act fast as they might be able to retrieve the coin even if it is stuck in the esophagus. They can hold their child using their forearm in the face down position and give a firm yet gentle pat on the middle back side of the child.
This action that combines the pressure as well as gravity can sometimes help in retrieving the coin by dislodging it. However, do not try this method when the child is choking.
What are Serious Symptoms Of Swallowing A Coin
When the coin gets stuck inside the intestine of the child, it can tear the walls of the intestine and would trigger the development of various symptoms. Seek medical help when the child shows one or more of these symptoms.
- Dark colored stools
- Abnormal bowel sounds
- Stomach ache
- Continuous coughing
- Inflammation in esophageal tissues
- Noisy breathing
- Irritation and rupture of esophagus
- Loses consciousness
- Difficulty in breathing
How Long Will It Take For The Coin To Pass Through?
Parents tend to be in panic mode as soon as they discover that their child has swallowed a coin. As the coin has rounded and smooth edges, it can eventually come out through the kid’s stools. The coin will be expelled off the kid’s digestive system within 2 days. So, the parents should closely monitor the stools of their child to know if the coin is expelled.
There is no need to have any worries as long as the child is fine and does not have any symptoms. However, they must refrain from force feeding the child to hasten the excretion process and must wait patiently for the coin to come out through the stools. Parents can try offering the child a diet containing fiber rich foods like bananas, as it can help in the quick movement of the kid’s digestive system.
Treatments To Remove The Swallowed Coin
1. Seek expert advice
It is important for the parents to check where the coin is located and know whether medical assistance is required. Fix an appointment with your child’s physician and explain about the incident. The physician will perform an examination and would then inform you about the next course of action.
The physician would advise the parents to get an X-ray of their kid to identify the location of the coin. If the x-ray shows the coin in the digestive track of the child, then the doctor would advise the parents to wait and watch. But if the coin is in the esophagus, then surgical procedure will be advised.
3. Surgical procedure
If the coin is stuck in the child’s esophagus, gastrointestinal tract of the stomach passage and is not expelled even after 5 days, then the doctor would suggest surgical treatment to remove it. This procedure is performed using an endoscope, which is introduced in the mouth of the child to access the stomach for coin removal. The parents must discuss about the aftercare procedures for their kid and the procedure’s recovery time.
Tips to prevent children from swallowing a coin
Find below some of the precautions that can help in avoiding the occurrence of such situations.
- Never allow the child to play with any type of money, such as bills, or coins. Such precautions would not only prevent the incidences such as swallowing bills or coins, but would also prevent the spread of germs from one person to another through the money
- Do not let the kid play with dolls and toys with small detachable components. Parents must buy only those toys that are advisable for the kids of similar age group, as it will prevent the kids from putting it in their mouth and swallowing it
- Even when taking the kids outside, make sure that the child does not put anything in his or her mouth
- Never leave small sized things in and around the house, as small kids are eager to taste new things and would try to swallow it. Make sure that you check the floors and shelves at the floor level to make sure that there are no tiny things lying around
- If the child is old enough to understand the basic instructions then the parents can talk to the child about the dangers of swallowing the coin
Make sure to keep an eye on the child while playing and follow the instructions mentioned, if the child swallows a coin.