Has your child swallowed something they shouldn’t or put something in their ears or nose?

After we shared the story of a little girl who swallowed a coin we have been chatting about what other things children have swallowed and what you should do to help while waiting for medical assistance.

One mum shared, “When my daughter was 11 months old, her father finally agreed to let me have a sleep-in……. this is the morning she swallowed an open safety pin. It lodged in her throat in a very similar position to that coin. She was attempting to vomit it up and as it was scratching her oesophagus, she was vomiting blood. She had it surgically removed and I’ve never slept in again…. this was nearly 14 years ago.”

Another shared, “My son swallowed the front door key, he put it between his lips and coughed and it some how went down… he was screaming laying on the floor with his knees up to his chest. Its terrifying to witness cause u don’t actually know what’s going on. So glad your baby girl is ok. My son also had surgery to have it removed.”

Another shared, “My son shoved a sea snail shell up his nose at childcare. Came home telling me his nose makes a funny sound.!”

Other lost items included:

“LEGO steering wheel got stuck in my sons throat when he was about 4 1/2.”

“My darling daughter got a bracelet stuck in her teeth had to take her to hospital to get it removed.”

“Little plastic circle from supermarket shopping bag up the nose for one child – trip to emergency to have it removed. Popping corn kernels in both ears of another child – emergency doctor’s appointment to have them taken out.”

“A lego fire hose tip shoved so far up his nose the hospital didn’t believe it was there at first.”

“Candy cane up the noise then broken off. The doctors couldn’t get it out either. It started to disintegrate up there coz she had a sticky watery stuff coming out after an hour or so.”

“Yep….plasticine in both ears…..he was trying to make earplugs.”

What to do if a child puts something up their nose

If you don’t see your child put anything in her nose, but you think there might be a problem, watch for these signs:

  • A foul-smelling odor coming from just one side of the nose
  • Symptoms similar to a sinus infection, like high fever or dark green mucus coming from the nose

If there is something stuck in your child’s nostril, it’s important to act quickly — either try to remove it or take your child to the doctor right away. If you delay, an infection can develop.

In rare cases — especially if it’s left in the nose overnight — the object can get sucked into the airway and possibly cause choking.

Most foreign objects in the nose won’t come out unless a parent or doctor removes them — especially for small children, who aren’t very good at blowing their noses.

There are two important things to remember if this happens to your child:
1. Try once, then get help – Make only one attempt to remove the object on your own (unless you believe the situation is life threatening). The more times you try, the less cooperative your child will be when the doctor tries to remove it. This increases the likelihood of needing an operation to remove the object.
2. ‘Mother’s kiss’ method – If you do try to handle the situation at home, Dr. Grover recommends using the “mother’s kiss” method, which works best for small, hard objects like beads. Follow these steps for the kiss method:

  • Place your mouth over your child’s mouth.
  • Hold the nostril that isn’t blocked closed with a finger.
  • Blow gently into your child’s mouth.

What to do if a child swallows something

Most children have no symptoms after swallowing an object, and the object will not cause any problems.

Occasionally, the swallowed object can become stuck in the oesophagus. Take your child to a doctor or hospital emergency department if they have:

  • trouble swallowing food
  • drooling
  • pain in the chest or neck.

Very rarely, the object can become stuck in the stomach or intestines. Take your child to a doctor or hospital emergency department if they have:

  • ongoing vomiting
  • abdominal (tummy) pain
  • blood in their vomit or poo
  • a fever.

If your child is coughing or is having difficulty breathing, the object may be in their airway or lungs. You should call an ambulance immediately if your child is having trouble breathing.

If you are concerned that your child may have swallowed something poisonous, call Poisons Information Centre (13 11 26 in Australia).

What to do if a child puts something in their ear?

Getting an object stuck in the ear is a relatively common problem, especially in toddlers.

The vast majority of items are lodged in the ear canal, which is the small channel that ends at the eardrum. Because the ear canal is quite sensitive, you can usually tell if there is something in your ear.

Most cases of foreign bodies in the ear are not serious and can usually wait until the morning or the following day for removal. The object does, however, have to be completely removed quickly and with the least amount of discomfort and danger.

Common objects found in ears include food material, beads, toys, and insects. Children often place items in their ears out of curiosity.

Occasionally, a foreign body in the ear will go undetected and can cause an infection in the ear. In this situation, you may notice ongoing infectious drainage from the ear.

A visit to the doctor is recommended if you are concerned there is something stuck in your child’s ear.

Join our Facebook discussion below:

  • I must have been so lucky! I never had issues with things in places they should be. I don’t think my mum did either


  • I was going to say how lucky was I that none of my children did anything like this – but then I realised that I had always taught my children not to do something this silly in the first place.


  • One friend had to go to emergency twice in one day – two different kids putting things up their nose!


  • I know one who stuck a lolly paper in her ear while playing in a playground. The local Dr couldn’t get it out as part of it was pushed right into her inner ear. She had to go to hospital and be heavily sedated for it go b removed by an ENT specialist.

    • What a nightmare poor parents hopefully they never did it again.


  • Luckily my boys have never had this problem. It’s definitely a scary scenario though


  • Lucky we haven’t needed this but I always remember the “Mother’s Kiss” method so I am prepared.


  • Such a common thing for kids to do!


  • One of my twins put some clear sticky tape up her nose. Was so hard to get out because we couldn’t see it. Eventually got it out thankfully.


  • Oh dear. My nephew swallowed glass stones at his daycare and his poor Mother had to go through his poo for days.


  • Oh dear, very dangerous and concerning.


  • I put a small amount of pepper in my hand and held it in front of my little girls nose when she told me had shoved a small coloured bead up there. She s sneezed and out it came!


  • I am grateful that we haven’t gone through anything horrendous like this.


  • Thank God I had a child who wasn’t so adventurous.


  • Great read. It’s important to know what to do.


  • thankfully no my girls never swallowed anything that they shouldn’t have (that I am aware of!)
    My husband swallowed a watch face when he was little and I stuck a tic tac up my nose once when I was a kid so there was the possibility of them doing it!

    It would be very scary to be a part of especially if your child has to have the object surgically removed.


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