ZocdocAnswersWhat will happen if my child accidentally swallowed part of a pencil?

Question

What will happen if my child accidentally swallowed part of a pencil?

My son was chewing on his pencil at school and apparently accidentally swallowed the end. Is this dangerous to his health? Could it do something to his stomach or poison him in some way? He seems fine the next day.

Answer

As you now know from personal experience, children swallow all sorts of things that aren't food. It sounds like your son is feeling well and has had no symptoms from his incident with the pencil (which is wonderful), but it is probably best to take him to his pediatrician to make sure that no additional testing or follow-up is needed. It would be most helpful if you could call his school to find out exactly what he may have swallowed and what kind of pencil this was. His physician can then use that information to make sure that your son didn't ingest any potentially toxic or harmful materials. Depending upon the size of what your son swallowed, his doctor may want you to examine his stool to make sure that it passes. Also, if you are ever concerned that a child may have ingested something toxic, the emergency department is always an appropriate place for an immediate evaluation. In this case it sounds as though your son has no complaints and it has been some time since the ingestion so his regular pediatrician may be a find place for evaluation, but you should never hesitate to take any child to the ED if there is a question of potential toxic ingestion.

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

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