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We all know that little kids can be mischievous, curious little people at the best of times but it’s crucial that you keep an eye on them at all times. Children have a habit of playing where they shouldn’t, trying to get to things that could be incredibly dangerous like kitchen utensils, power tools and even gardening accessories as well as being so eager to explore the world around them all caution goes out the window.
Each year hundreds, if not thousands of kids are admitted to the emergency room because they’ve run out into a busy road without warning, gotten their fingers stuck inside a DVD player or swallowed something they shouldn’t have! Remember, children do not understand what’s safe and what isn’t, and as parents, it’s our responsibility to teach them that trying to get the top off of a jar of jam is fine but trying to unscrew the lid of the bathroom cleaner definitely isn’t.
It’s Quite Common
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Usually, the most common time for your toddler to try and swallow something they shouldn’t is between the ages of six months to two years old. They’re always learning about their environment and tend to use their mouths and hands to explore different objects. It can help, for a few months at least, to give them a pacifier, so your child isn’t tempted to put something else in their mouth. But do be aware weaning a baby off a pacifier again isn’t easy.
Pediatric dentists have suggested prolonged pacifier usage can cause dental issues, as well as making your child more susceptible to sucking their thumb, which can then change the shape of their teeth. Often it’s the smallest items that tend to be swallowed by young children. They believe they’re sweets or have simply been playing with something, decided to put it in their mouth for whatever reason and then swallowed it without meaning too. In fact, only a few years ago it was seen as a way for babies to boost their immune systems as often objects were covered in germs so the child’s body would gradually grow the antibodies necessary to keep them safe.
Hand To Mouth
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Shiny toys, coins, and batteries are not only attractive to toddlers but coins and watch batteries have a metallic taste that many toddlers like. Even ‘grown up’ items like e cig accessories, nano sim cards, and stud earrings can somehow find their way into your toddler’s wandering hands. Other brightly colored things like plastic beads, marbles, Barbie doll shoes, round lego bricks and tiny magnets are also a target, so it’s important you only give your child toys suitable for their age group. Many items state, either on the box or the label itself, what age group the toy is for and whether there’s a risk of choking should a component be ingested.
Bear in mind, toddlers also swallow things because they’re bored, hungry or tired or have simply forgotten they had something in their mouths. If your child states they’re hungry give them a small snack like some seedless grapes or slices of cucumber instead of waiting for them to put a plastic boot in their mouth to see what it tastes like. Feeding them accomplishes two things, the first being that your toddler will be eating something they’re actually supposed to and secondly, you can whisk away the offending item, or items before they’ve had a chance to notice they’ve gone. All that’s left to do then is quickly distract them with a new game so that they forget.
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Depending on what foreign body they’ve eaten, your child will either need special medicine or have X-rays done to see where it’s ended up in the body. Remember, small round watch or hearing aid batteries contain acid which, if they are cracked or leak in any way, can damage the stomach lining. Whatever you do don’t leave anything small, roundish and brightly colored lying around as even the most clued up little kid might think they’re sweets especially if they look a little like Smarties or Skittles!
Look out for fever, vomiting and refusing to drink as this can indicate they’ve ingested something they weren’t supposed to. Once an X-ray has been performed your doctor can tell you whether something’s likely to make its own way out, often helped by a suppository to ensure the child passes the object quickly. However, if something does end up in the esophagus your son, or daughter will require a camera down their throat to find, and remove it but will hopefully avoid surgery.