What To Do When Your Kid Swallows A Coin?

7 min read

By Dr. Chetan Ginigeri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER), Fellowship PICU (Kings College London)
Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital
17 years of experience

Kids learn about the world by touching, feeling, and putting things in their mouths. Ingesting foreign bodies is their way of exploring the world. Small items like a coin, button, or batteries seems a very common occurrence, and since coins are easily accessible by babies and toddlers, their shining metallic luster appeals to the little eyes, and as they like to taste everything, the silver metal goes straight into the mouth.
What To Do When Your Kid Swallows A Coin

Children find everything as their potential food item 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 their mouth, then they would feel like tasting it. And therefore, swallowing foreign objects like marbles, coins, sand, and tiny removable parts of toys become a common problem for parents of a toddler. A child will happily swallow a foreign object and not even worry about it. Whereas, parents live in the fear of “What to do now?”

In This Article

What are the Symptoms of Toddler Swallowing a Coin?

If your kid swallows a coin or a penny accidentally, then you need to watch out and carefully observe the child. If the kid swallows a coin that goes into the stomach, there is a huge possibility that the same will be passed through the colon and eventually come out with stool. However, if the coin gets trapped in the passage to the stomach, then it presents a risky situation and must be taken seriously.

If the kid swallows a coin and it gets stuck in the esophagus, it could bring about distinctive symptoms like –

  • Continuous drooling
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • A feeling of something is stuck in the throat
  • Pain in chest or neck
  • Fever

If the coin gets stuck in the intestine and tears intestinal walls, then a variety of symptoms might be evident like:

  • Blood in the stool
  • Bowel sounds that are not normal
  • Stomach pain
  • 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 potentially dangerous situations.

How Long Does It Take To Pass A Coin in Stool?

You may be in a panic mode because your kid swallowed a coin or some other foreign object. 80 to 90 % of the time, a coin or a small penny will pass on its own, causing no damage as it is round with soft edges, and eventually comes 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:

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

Xray of child swallowed coin

If your child is doing well and does not exhibit any symptoms, then you may as well wait for the penny to pass 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. Also, do not force the child to have food. If you are scared or feel helpless, the best option would be to seek a 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 within two 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

girl swallowed coin

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, and you check his poop for the 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
  • 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 your child drinks plenty of water, thus keeping them hydrated. A hydrated body functions well, and your child will have no trouble in the passing stool with the coin in it.

Treatment and Removal

If the coin does not come 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. This is mandatory even if your child does not exhibit any symptoms of uneasiness. More often,

  • Doctors locate the exact position of the coin in your child with the help of an X-ray.
  • Then the doctor may take a wait & see approach. That is if the child is not exhibiting any of the dangerous signs mentioned above.
  • The doctor may ask you to wait some more time and suggest some medicines for helping your child poop the coin out.
  • If the coin still does not come out, the doctor will decide on some medical procedures that help to remove the coin safely.

Will my child need surgery to remove a coin?

Normally, there is no need to remove a coin ingested by a child through a surgical procedure. This is because the coin is not a sharp object and hence in normal course it won’t cause any damage or puncture your child’s Gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It passes out of the body through the stool.
However, if the coin gets stuck in the esophagus, the doctor has to remove it through an endoscopic procedure.

Endoscopy

How are foreign objects removed endoscopically?

A foreign body lodged in the esophagus, stomach and duodenum is removed through a minimally invasive procedure called endoscopy. An endoscopy that is performed to remove the object that is lodged in the esophagus is precisely called upper endoscopy, or esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy (EGD). The instrument used to perform an EGD is called an endoscope.

An endoscope is a long, flexible tube with a lighted camera attached to its tip. It also has passages to insert instruments. During the procedure, the doctor passes the endoscope through the mouth of the child into the esophagus. With the help of the lighted camera, he will spot the lodged foreign body. Once the obstruction is detected, the doctor inserts the instruments through the channels of the endoscope and removes them.

Depending on the size and position of the foreign body, the doctor may also elect to push it into the stomach so that it gets expelled through the poop.

Safety and Prevention Tips

Here are some precautions you must take to avoid such incidents:

  • Avoid keeping any small objects in your child’s reach.
  • Do not let your child pay with money, not even bills because they are passed through many hands and contain 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 can get stuck in your child’s system.
  • Practice extra caution if you are taking your child somewhere outside. For instance, if you take your child to a garden and they find crawlers in the grass, they may automatically feel like putting them in their mouth.

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

FAQ’s

1. Can I Try to Retrieve the Coin my Child Swallowed?

Try only if you can see the coin. If you can’t see it clearly, do not attempt. You might push it further down.

2. Can Children Suffocate After Swallowing a Coin?

It depends on the angle of the coin. Sometimes the coins get lodged in the throat, causing difficulty in breathing. If the coin just slips through, it will come out in the stool.

3. What if the Coin Swallowed by my Baby has Crossed the Throat?

It will mostly come out in the stool. The doctor might give some stool softener. This can accelerate the bowel movements.

4. How can I Dislodge the Coin Stuck in my Child’s Throat?

Try to hit them hard between the shoulders at the back. Make them bend forward when you do this. Also, hold their shoulder and support them.

Read Also: How Can I Stop My Baby From Putting Everything In The Mouth?.

...
Dr. Chetan Ginigeri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER), Fellowship PICU (Kings College London)
Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital
17 years of experience

Dr Chetan Ginigeri is an experienced Pediatric Intensivist with national and international training. With 15 years of experience, he is one among very few Intensivists in India trained to take care of children who need/had organ transplants. He has been responsible for coordinating the Pediatric Organ Transplant program.Read more.

Responses (23)

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P

PT

Apr 06, 2017

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.

M

madiha

Mar 29, 2017

apki bachi ka coin nikal gaya h kaya tell me plzz my daughter also take coin what i do

P

PT

Apr 06, 2017

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.

M

madiha

Mar 29, 2017

apki bachi ka coin nikal gaya h kaya tell me plzz my daughter also take coin what i do

K

KH

Feb 01, 2017

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.

S

Shivaji

Dec 31, 2016

What should I do to see the coin xray or ultrasound ?

D

dharmendra kumar

Dec 22, 2016

dear sir my son 2 year old he take the coins and coins is 5 rupeea please help me what i do....

R

Reitumetse

Dec 13, 2016

My doughter swallowed a R2 coin an she don' t want to eat anything,even to drink a something

S

sayed Abid Hussain

Dec 12, 2016

My nephew right no have swelled a coin . And there is no medical center pleas give me suggestions for solving this problem.

P

phil

Oct 08, 2016

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?

N

Nat

Oct 06, 2016

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

E

Emmanuel

Oct 03, 2016

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

A

abhishek

Sep 14, 2016

how to release the coin from stomatch ....naturally or by sugary pls tell my cell no 09823063813

O

ogunfodunrin funmii

Sep 11, 2016

my child swallowed a ghana pesewas what can j i do to make him vomit or bring it out

K

kumar

Jul 21, 2016

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

M

mukesh kumar ohdar

Jun 24, 2016

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

T

TEAM BTP

May 25, 2016

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.

T

TEAM BTP

May 25, 2016

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

A

Agrata

May 24, 2016

Hi , My child has swallowed a coin 10X24 mm on 20th May 2015. Please share you no. Would appreciate if you could advise what did you do. my email id is agrata.email@rediffmail.com

A

Aamir

May 21, 2016

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.

M

Mohammad Shahidur Rahman

May 18, 2016

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?

R

Ravi

May 04, 2016

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

Y

Yogendra

Mar 25, 2016

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

B

bsprakash

Jan 08, 2016

I like it

A

Ajit kumar

Dec 22, 2015

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

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