The Number of Kids Sent to the ER for Doing This Has Gone Up 90% In 20 Years. Know the Risks.
Every parent knows to keep small objects away from children in order to prevent them from choking or ingesting a dangerous object. Sounds simple enough, but if you have ever found this rule difficult to execute you are not alone. A new study found that emergency room visits for children under 6 who swallowed objects has gone up more than 90% over the past 20 years.
Overall, boys ingested foreign bodies slightly more often than girls and one year olds ingested foreign objects most of all. Coins, especially pennies, are the most frequently ingested objects, followed by small toys, jewelry, and batteries, especially button batteries. According to CNN, boys also commonly swallowed nails and screws while girls also commonly swallowed hair accessories.
The huge rise in the number of incidents reported does not include incidents in which parents called their pediatrician, went to urgent care, called poison control, or waited for the object to pass at home. This means that the actual number of children who ingested objects could be much higher. These numbers are alarming and underscore both the need for parents to be vigilant in keeping small objects out of reach of young children and the need for better regulation over things like packaging for small toys and restricted sale of toys with high powered magnets.
According to the Children's Hospital of Colorado you should take your child to the ER immediately if they swallow something sharp, a magnet, or a battery. If your child swallows something small like a coin, toy, or hair accessory it may or may not be an emergency. If your child is having trouble breathing or swallowing or is vomiting take your child to the ER right away. Otherwise, call your child's pediatrician for guidance. It's also a good idea to keep the number for poison control, 1-800-222-1222, handy.
No one is perfect, especially when it comes to clever toddlers determined to get that shiny penny or pretty earring in their mouth. Be aware of the risks and be prepared to act if an accident does happen. The good news is, most children who swallow a foreign object are just fine. However, about 10% of children suffer serious injuries or worse so it's important to act fast if your child becomes one of the growing number of children who manages to slip something in their mouth despite best efforts to keep them safe.