Being The Parent

What To Do When Your Child Swallows A Coin?

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Coins can be dangerous
Kids learn about the world by touching, feeling and putting things in their mouths. Ingesting foreign bodies is their way of exploring the world. Swallowing small items like buttons, batteries or coins seems a very common incident, and since coins are easily accessible by babies and toddlers, their shining metallic luster appeals the little eyes and as they like to taste everything, the silver metal goes straight into the mouth. Read how can you stop your baby from putting everything in his mouth.

Children find everything as their potential food items and feed themselves with it. Touch and taste, chew and swallow’, this is how their mind works when they get something in their hands. Then it may or may not be a food item. If it is small and fits into his mouth, it is definitely being tasted, and then maybe swallowed. Swallowing foreign objects like marbles, coins, mouth full’s of sand and tiny removable parts of toys are common problems for parents of a toddler. A child will happily swallow a foreign object and not even worry about it. Whereas, parents live in fear of “What to do now?”

What Are The Symptoms of Toddler Swallowing A Coin?

If your child has accidentally swallowed a penny or a coin, then you need to watch out and carefully observe the child. If the swallowed coin goes into the stomach, there is a huge possibility that the same will be passed through the colon and get expelled with stool. However, if the penny gets gets trapped in the passage to the stomach, it presents a risky situation and must be taken seriously. If the swallowed coin gets stuck in the esophagus, it could cause distinctive symptoms like –

  • The child could drop the saliva continuously from the mouth, continuous drooling can be indicative that something is wrong with the child
  • Difficulty in swallowing anything, and so he may refuse food and drink even though he is hungry
  • Vomiting can also be observed
  • The child complains of pain in the neck or chest
  • A sudden fever develops

If the coin gets stuck in the intestine and tears intestinal walls a variety of symptoms might be evident like- blood in the stool due to which it could appear dark, bowel sounds that are not normal, stomach pain and vomiting. Sometimes the coin gets trapped but a child can continue to swallow and eat without any difficulty. In such a situation, the child will cough continuously. The stuck coin can cause inflammation and irritation of the esophageal tissues, which can further rupture the esophagus, causing potential dangerous situations.

How Long It Takes To Pass Swallowed Coin By Toddler?

Now you may be in a panic mode, because your child has swallowed a coin or some other foreign object. 80 to 90 % of times, a coin or a small penny will pass on its own, causing no damage as it is round with soft edges, and eventually come out with stool. The coin passes through the digestive system and is expelled within a day or two. However, it is necessary to keep a keen eye on your child. It can be an emergency situation if there are the below mentioned symptoms:

  1. Your child cannot speak or cry, and has trouble breathing
  2. He is drooling and cannot swallow even food and water
  3. Your child is coughing or is breathing noisily
  4. You can feel him choking
  5. He loses consciousness and is vomiting continuously. His stomach could also be upset


If your child is doing well, and does not exhibit any symptoms, then you may as well wait for the penny to pass out through the stools. Though consulting a pediatrician is recommended, do not self medicate by giving laxatives to your child to hasten the process of excretion as it may not help. Neither will forcing your child to gulp food. If you are scared, or feel helpless, the best option would be to seek the doctor’s advice.

My Child Swallowed A Penny And It Is Stuck!

If the coin has passed through the throat, into the stomach, it should pass out from the system in less than 4-5 days, and usually within 2 days. A coin that is stuck will induce stomach or chest pain, drooling, trouble swallowing, vomiting and fever. In any of these cases, take the child to the hospital as early as possible and take the doctor’s advice.

First Aid When Toddler Swallows a Penny

If there are any symptoms of a coin or a foreign object being stuck, you must NOT

  • Try to make the child vomit
  • Give the child anything to drink or eat

You can follow the following steps if your child swallows a coin or something else that is soft, small, smooth and not poisonous:

  • Make sure, you check his poop for next two to three days. This can be done by placing the poop in a strainer and spraying hot water on it. By doing this, you will be sure that the swallowed foreign object came out fine and there is no need to worry any further
  • In the time period of swallowing coin it is necessary for parents to observe their child minutely
  • Child trying to vomit

  • Feed him food that is soft and fibrous. Bananas are a good option when you want to make things move along faster in your child’s system
  • Make sure you feed your child plenty of water and keep him/her hydrated. A hydrated body functions well and your child will have no trouble in passing stool with the coin in it
Swallowed Coin Treatment and Removal

If the coin does not comes out even after following all the steps stated above and remains in the body for more than 48 hours, it is time to head to the hospital even if your child does not exhibit any symptoms of uneasiness. Visit your doctor and take medical help. The doctor may ask you to wait some more, and suggest some medicines for helping your child poop the coin out. Doctor will also help locate the exact position of coin in your child with the help of X-ray, and you can be certain that the object your child has swallowed is a coin only and nothing else. Though, there is no need to remove a coin with surgical methods. However, if the swallowed object is not a coin and something sharp, that can damage or puncture your child’s Gastrointestinal (GI) tract the doctor may suggest endoscopy.

Safety And Prevention Tips

Here are some precautions you must take to avoid happening of such incidents.

  • Do not let your child pay with money, not even bills. One of the many reasons for not letting your child to do so is, he/she may digest you hundred-rupee bill and you will be at loss. It is also a bad habit for children to play with money because they are passed through many hands and have thousand different types of bacteria and germs on them
  • Do not let your child play with tiny objects. Dolls, cars, and toys that have removable parts can be swallowed and struck in your child’s systems. The chances of things getting inhales are also high, so better be cautious
  • Practice extra caution if you are taking your child somewhere outside. For instance if you take your child in a garden and he finds a big fat caterpillar crawling in grass he may feed it to himself
  • It is a child’s tendency to observe things using all his/her senses. Your child will examine things with his visionary senses and may want to explore his taste buds all over it. So it is becomes even more important for parents to not leave small tiny things within your children’s reach

Please note that this article is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.





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23 Comments

  1. My child swallow a one rupee coin. After luking xray i found the coin is in stomatch till now from 10 days. What can i do 4 my child that coin will withdraw from stomatch? Pls help me

    • Mohammad Shahidur Rahman on

      My 6 years old child swallowed a 2 taka coin. After x-Ray we see this coin in horizontal in stomach. Already 10 days past but coin does not come out. What can I do?

        • My child swallowed a coin and and started crying. He was puting his fingers in throat to take the coin out. we realized that the coin was stuck in throat. We tried to take the coin out by taping on the upper back but it did not work. The child vomited couple of times but by that time the coin had entered the stomach (we thought so because within the 15 minutes the child was normal. He stopped crying started drinking and eating). After about 8 hours we did xray and the coin traced in the intestine.

          Doctor advised to wait till 3-4 days to allow the coin to travel with the excreta. We waited for 6 days (because the child was absolutely fine with the coin inside and did not complain of any pain) and on completion of 24 X 6 hours the coin was out.

          The doctor said if the coin is swallowed one must take the child to ENT specialist who can pull out the coin easily if it is stuck in the throat. If it is passed the throat one must do a xray to be certain of the coin location. If the coin passed the food pipe wait for 3-4 days and monitor the excreta to check if the coin is expelled.

      • Hi Agrata,

        We suggest that you seek immediate medical advice from a doctor regarding your child’s condition. All the best!

    • my 8 yo grandson swallowed a penny 5 days ago and he has no symptoms of obstruction but the X-ray shows the coin at about the oleo-cecal valve. Is it ok to continue watching? What should be done, since the pediatrician has been notified?

  2. My child age 4year swallow a one rupee coin. After luking xray i found the
    coin is in stomatch till now from 4 days. What can i do 4 my
    child that coin will withdraw from stomatch? Pls help me

  3. My child swalled a fifty paise silver coin. After taken xray it is still found in stomach for 10 days. What i do and any problem from this?…plz help me

  4. My child swallowed a coin and its been 5 days the coin is still in the stomach but it has changed its location after compare x ray result. Pls advise what to do.

    • Hi Aamir,

      In such a case, your child’s doctor would be the best person to guide you further. Please seek medical advice.

      Thank you.

  5. mukesh kumar ohdar on

    my child swallowed chandi metal on 21 st jun .doctor said wait for 3-4 days .today he vommited and fever.sir tell me what to do.and sorry for poor english

  6. my baby swallowed one rupee coin and found it is in stomach ,doctor said wait it will passes on stool.awaiting and gave the bananas more…need to see how it works

      • The best thing you can do is to go to hospital with the baby..My daughter swallowed 10 Pessewa on the 2nd October 2016 and after we sent her to hospital, the coin came out the on the 3rd and I thank God for that….Please be quick and go to hospital

  7. my 2 year old toddler swallowed a fifty cent coin and started suffocating, vomited and turned blue. I gave him several back blows and after a minute he coin came out. I learnt that on TV many years and never forgot that technique. Thanks God

  8. My 4 year old son swallow the dime. I mashed a banana and mixed with white cumin seeds. Mixed it very very well and gave him. After 2 days we did an xray and no sign of coin we found.

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