ZocdocAnswersWhat would happen if my young child swallowed a coin?

Question

What would happen if my young child swallowed a coin?

My daughter accidently swallowed a coin. In particular she is four years old and was playing with her little brother, she threw change in the air and accidently swallowed a dime or nickle. I immediately called the poison control center. Her airway is not blocked and she is fine. I was told that it would eventually pass threw her stool? Is this true? Can she drink anything to make the process faster?

Answer

This is a very common occurrence. Children this age put many things into their mouths and occasionally things get swallowed. Thankfully, she didn't get it stuck in her airway. You were correct to call the poison control center and any time you daughter swallows something you are not sure about, you should do the same thing. In most cases when a child swallows a coin, it makes its way down to the colon and gets stuck in the stool and gets passed out. In the majority of cases, no harm is done to the child. Your next best step is to call your daughter's pediatrician office and speak to one of the physicians there. They can give you advice that takes your daughter's past medical history into account. Most pediatricians would not recommend any laxatives to make the process faster, because that would not help the situation. They may recommend that you just wait till the coin passes. In any case, if your daughter develops abdominal pain, loses her appetite, develops a fever, or begins vomiting, you should bring her to her doctor or the emergency room right away. Hopefully, you will see that coin pass in the next few days.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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