What To Do If Your Child has Swallowed Toys and Other Objects
Babies love to play, and in doing so they tend to place toys and other objects in their mouths. This is potentially dangerous because these babies may actually end up swallowing objects. Thus, it is a must that as a parent or a baby caregiver you should know whether your baby has swallowed some object and what you should do when you find out that it has actually occurred.
Before discussing anything else regarding what you should do when you have discovered that your baby has swallowed something, it is best that you keep your doctor’s number handy. If any of the below signs and symptoms occur which will confirm that indeed your baby has swallowed an object, you should call your doctor immediately.
First, you should listen if there is wheezing in your baby. In some cases there may be “barking”. This is a sign that the object is within the airway of the baby. If your baby shows this, you should get immediate medical attention because this may mean that the baby has actually swallowed the object and that object is obstructing his or her airways, leading to difficulty of breathing. If difficulty of breathing is not treated by removing the foreign object in the baby’s airways, this could lead to respiratory failure, coma (due to lack of oxygen delivery to the brain) or death.
If the baby has swallowed an object, he or she may drool and have excess salivation. This is a sign that the object is within the baby’s throat. If you see your baby like this and you think that he or she has swallowed an object, you must seek immediate medical attention, especially if the object is sharp or is huge enough to create perforations and injury in the airways. These objects may include coins, paper clips, needles and the like.
If you suspect that your baby may have swallowed a foreign body yet you have not yet observed any signs and symptoms, look out for vomiting. If the baby vomits, chances are he or she has swallowed an object which may have entered his or her esophagus or stomach. These objects may go into the baby’s stomach and may cause obstruction so that no food enters the stomach and thus causes vomiting. If this happens, seek immediate medical treatment.
You should also note if there are any behavioural changes in your baby. If your baby is irritable, refuses to sleep, eat or drink, it should create suspicion that something is within the baby’s gastrointestinal system or airways, preventing him or her from doing so. An object trapped in the windpipe or trachea may bring about fever which may be mistaken for colds, flu or any other infections. This is why the doctor examines the baby very well physically during consultation. The doctor may rule out infections if there is a foreign body stuck somewhere in the body, which may be acted upon by the body’s immune system, further causing inflammation and fever.
If still you have not observed any signs and symptoms in your baby yet you still suspect that he or she may have taken in objects, you may observe the baby’s diaper. Small objects may actually pass in their stools without any problem.
Also observe how a baby strains; if the baby does not pass out stools in a few days, you should contact your paediatrician. He or she will help you determine whether your baby needs further immediate care or not. If you see other untoward signs and symptoms which are not mentioned here which you think are related to your baby’s swallowing of an object, you should seek medical help immediately.