• Children's Center

    In the Loop: Tips for Things Children Swallow

a little boy sitting on a woman's lap and he looks worried, sad about stomach ache
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.
If you're a parent, this will sound familiar. You take your eyes off of your child for a moment, and when you look back, they have something in their mouth that's not exactly edible. Yet they swallow it anyway. This, of course, is nothing new. In fact, a recent story in STAT magazine notes that Boston Children's Hospital keeps a collection of "weird things children swallow" that traces the unfortunate practice all the way back to at least 1918. Pediatricians meticulously documented the unusual things that children had swallowed (and needed to be retrieved), including "a chicken claw, a sardine can key, a doll's hand, and a 1940 pin supporting the re-election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt."

Karthik Balakrishnan, M.D., a Mayo Clinic pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialist, has seen his share of such unfortunately ingested items. "We see it here at Mayo fairly often," he tells us. "Probably once a week." While Dr. Balakrishnan tells Stat that he's seen kids swallow "everything from straight pins to a hearing aid," he notes that children also occasionally put things into their noses. And ears. Dr. Balakrishnan says a young girl who came in with a googly eye stuck in her ear still takes the cake. "When I looked in her ear, I saw an eye looking back at me," he says. Read the rest of the article.