Dangers of Your Child Putting Foreign Objects in Their Mouth or Nose
Children are naturally inquisitive and often wonder how
things work. Usually, they display this curiosity by asking questions, or by
exploring the world around them.
One of the dangers that can occur as a result of this
curiosity is that your child may place foreign objects into their mouth, nose,
and ears. While often harmless, this can create a choking hazard and put them
in danger of serious injuries or infections.
A foreign body in the nose means that an object is present
in the nose when it’s not naturally supposed to be there. Children under the
age of 5 often have this issue, although it’s not uncommon for older children
to place foreign objects up their nostrils.
Items That May End Up in Your Child’s Nose
Common items that children put up their noses include:
- small toys
- pieces of eraser
- clay (used for arts and crafts)
- paired disc magnets
- button battery
Button batteries, such as those found in a watch, are of
particular concern and cause serious injury to the nasal passage in as little
as four hours. Paired disc magnets that are sometimes used to attach earrings
or a nose ring can also damage tissue; however this would occur over a few
Children often put these objects into their noses out of
curiosity, or because they’re mimicking other children. However, foreign
objects can also go into the nose while your child is sleeping, or when they
try to sniff or smell an object.
Are the Signs of a Foreign Body in the Nose?
You may suspect that your child has put something in their nose,
but are unable to see it when you look up their nose. Foreign objects in the
nose may cause other signs.
A foreign body in the nostril will cause nasal drainage. This
drainage may be clear, gray, or bloody. Nasal drainage with a bad odor may be a
sign of an infection.
Your child may have difficulty breathing through the affected
nostril. This occurs when the object clogs the nostril, making it difficult for
air to move through the nasal passage.
Your child may make whistling noises when breathing through their
nose. A stuck object could cause this noise.
a Foreign Body in the Nose
Make an appointment with your child’s doctor if you suspect your
child has something in their nose but you can’t see it. At the appointment, the
doctor will ask your child to lay back while they look into your child’s nose
with a hand-held lighted instrument.
Your child’s doctor may swab nasal discharge and have it tested
for the presence of bacteria.
to Remove the Object
Keep calm if you discover an object in your child’s nose. Your
child may begin to panic if they see you panicking.
The only treatment for this
condition is to remove the foreign object from the nostril. In some cases,
blowing the nose gently may be all that’s necessary to treat this condition.
You can also try removing the object with tweezers. Only use
tweezers on larger objects. Tweezers may push smaller objects farther up the
Avoid sticking cotton swabs or your fingers into your child’s
nose. This can also push the object farther into the nose.
Stop your child from sniffing. Sniffing could cause the object to
move farther up their nose and pose a choking hazard. Encourage your child to
breathe through their mouth until the object is removed.
Go to your nearest hospital emergency room or doctor’s office if
you can’t remove the object with tweezers. They’ll have other instruments that
can remove the object. These include instruments that will help them grasp or
scoop out the object and machines that will suction the object out.
To make it more comfortable, the doctor may place a topical
anesthetic (spray or drops) inside the nose to slightly numb the area. The
doctor may apply a drug that helps prevent a nosebleed prior to the procedure
Your child’s doctor may prescribe antibiotics or nasal drops to
treat or prevent an infection.
How Do I Prevent My Child Sticking from Putting Foreign Objects in Their
Even with careful supervision, it can be difficult to prevent
your child from putting foreign objects in their nose, ears, or mouth. Sometimes
children will misbehave for attention. For this reason, never yell at your
child when you catch them putting things in their noses.
Explain to your child how noses function, and why it’s a bad idea
to put things in their nose. Have this conversation every time you catch your
child trying to put things in their nose.