This advice sheet has been written for safety netting advice after your child has had an initial review by their GP, nurse or hospital doctor for their swallowed foreign body.
If your child has any of the following:
Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999
Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 - dial 111
If none of the above features are present.
Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, call NHS 111 – dial 111
Most swallowed objects are harmless and will pass through the digestive system without causing any harm. Studies suggest that it takes about 3-5 days for the object to pass out into the stool (poo).
We do not routinely recommend looking through the stool to find the object, as this can be unpleasant and not helpful.
It can be challenging to always stop young children putting things in their mouth that they might swallow. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of accidents happening. You can learn about what objects are particularly harmful if swallowed and then reduce the risk of your child getting hold of these objects.
All batteries can be harmful if swallowed but button batteries are particularly dangerous. These batteries are flat and round, ranging from 5 – 25mm in diameter. Button batteries can get stuck in the oesophagus (food pipe) and cause permanent damage within hours. If your child has swallowed a button battery, bring them to the Emergency Department straight away. They might need to undergo a procedure to remove it.
(Button batteries are flat and round. These ones are about the same size as a 5 pence piece.)
Button batteries are found in many objects that you might have at home, including hearing aids, car keys, remote controls, weighing scales, musical greeting cards and some toys.
What you can do:
Click here for more information on button battery safety.
Magnetic ball toys are about 10 times stronger than traditional magnets. If a child swallows more than one of the magnetic balls, they can stick to each other inside the body and cause damage to the bowel and other structures that get caught in between. They can be challenging to remove, often requiring surgery to do so. If your child has swallowed one or more magnets, bring them to the Emergency Department straight away.
Click here for more information on magnetic toys.
Click here for information on toy safety.
Click here for information on choking prevention.
This guidance is written by healthcare professionals from across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.