Most nonfood items swallowed by children are coins. Smaller coins (dimes or pennies) usually pass though the body easily. Larger coins (and sometimes the smaller ones) can get hung up at a narrow segment of the esophagus. Dangerous objects are pointed ones such as nails and toothpicks. Button (or disk) batteries are dangerous because they contain acid or alkali, which can erode the lining of the intestines. If 2 or more strong magnets are swallowed, they can attach across 2 parts of the intestine and cause a perforation.
If your child does not have any symptoms (trouble swallowing or pain in the throat), give your child some water to drink. If this does not cause any symptoms, your child should eat some bread or other soft, solid, carbohydrate food. If this goes smoothly, the object is probably in the stomach. Swallowed foreign bodies almost always make it to the stomach, travel through the intestines, and are passed in a normal bowel movement in 3 or 4 days. There is nothing you can do to hurry it along.
Normally bowel movements do not need to be checked for small, smooth objects. However, when the object is sharp, large, long (more than 1 inch), or valuable, collect your child's bowel movements in a diaper or on newspapers. Cut the bowel movements up with a knife or strain them through a piece of screen until you find the object.
Young children who put everything in their mouths must be protected from small objects they might accidentally swallow.
Call IMMEDIATELY if:
If you've already talked with your healthcare provider AND any of the following occur, call again: