What to Do If Your Child Swallowed Play Dough, Batteries or Other Objects?

What to Do If Your Child Swallowed Play Dough, Batteries or Other Objects?
January 29 09:21 2021 by admin Print This Article

Infants and toddlers are naturally curious about the world around them. Trying things for the first time is part of the learning process. Unfortunately, this learning often involves putting objects into their mouths and swallowing them. The most common age for children to ingest objects is between 6 months to 3 years, although even older children can do this. While almost anything that fits in the mouth can be swallowed, the most common items are play dough, batteries, earrings, small pieces of jewelry, buttons, screws and so on.Being aware of the signs (that suggest that a dangerous object has been ingested)and knowing how to deal with the situation are both very important. Ingestion of objects is a common problem in paediatrics.

Signs of Trouble

It often happens that small objects pass out of the system naturally, without the child showing any symptoms. However, sudden onset of coughing, excessive drooling, blood in the saliva, refusing food, vomiting, wheezing, gagging or choking are typical signs of a problem. Pain in the throat, the neck or the chest is another sign of something being wrong. If a child has one or more of these symptoms, medical attention should be provided immediately.

Chennai –  044 40006000

Tennur, Trichy –  0431 4022555

Heartcity, Trichy –  0431 4003500 | +91 9024290242

Cantonment, Trichy –  0431 4077777

Hosur –  04344 272727

Salem –  0427 2677777

The Two Most Dangerous Objects

Small magnets are found in an increasing number of household electronics and other items. If these should come loose and fall to the floor, a child can pick them up and swallow them. If more than one is ingested, the magnets may be drawn towards each other and cause damage to the delicate internal organs. Tiny button batteries are another hazard. If a battery gets stuck in the throat it can cause burn injuries in the esophagus. If you suspect that a child has swallowed either of these items, take her to the hospital without delay, even if there are no symptoms of distress.

Do Not Try to Remove the Objects

If the child is showing signs of respiratory distress and the object appears to be stuck in the throat, do not try and remove it yourself. This could increase the injury or push the object further down the throat or into the stomach. Do not try and make the child vomit – this could also make the situation worse. Get medical help without delay.

Try the Swallow Test

If the child has swallowed a small object but shows no signs of discomfort, call your paediatrician and ask if you can try the swallow test. The first stage of this test involves asking the child to drink water. If that goes down easily, the next stage is to give the child a piece of soft bread. If this too causes no problems, the doctor may suggest waiting for sometime to see if the object passes out of the body naturally. However, if there are problems, the doctor will tell you what to do next.

At the Hospital

Your doctor or a hospital will have several treatment options available, depending on the type of object ingested and where it is lodged. It could be as simple as using special tools to pull the object from the throat to administering medicines to cause the object to pass from the body. The worst-case scenario is that surgery may be required to remove the object.

Not Panicking Is Essential

If parents do not panic when a child swallows an object and contact a doctor for help, in most cases the situation can be resolved quickly and smoothly, with no impact on the child’s health. The best thing parents can do is stay calm themselves and keep the child calm while waiting for help. The best paediatrician is usually found at the paediatrics department of a hospital.


Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Tirunelveli and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Tirunelveli – 0462 4006000 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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  1. T Ramanujam
    March 26, 00:46 #1 T Ramanujam

    This is such important information. I’m going to share it with my friends.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Sanjana
    June 08, 07:12 #2 Sanjana

    This is a highly relevant topic. The article had driven the point that we should not underestimate the importance of child care.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Avanthi
    June 30, 06:37 #3 Avanthi

    These are essential information that young parents should get to know, especially the emergency numbers! Thanks!!

    Reply to this comment

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