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Help! My child swallowed a crayon (or play-dough, or a coin, etc!) - What to do??
Sara DuMond, MD, FAAP posted:
My middle child had an appetite for mulch. Yes, I said mulch. Take him to the playground when he was in the crawling phase, and within 5 minutes, he'd have 2 cheekfuls of mulch! Here is a run-down on things that your newly-crawling baby may be tempted to swallow, and what to do if she does.

Crayons and play-dough - Luckily these items aren't toxic to little ones. The worst outcome is likely to be a little discolored poop! The only danger with these items is if baby happens to get a large chunk, which can be a choking hazard.

Coins - What is it about shiny round objects that babies just can't resist??! Coins are commonly swallowed objects, and most of the time, they pass just fine. If the coin makes it into the stomach, and the child isn't having difficulty breathing, you will likely find it in her diaper within 2-4 days. In most instances, an xray is only necessary if the child develops symptoms (vomiting, difficulty breathing, or pain).

Medication - It happens all the time. Grandma comes to visit, and that container of blood pressure medicine accidentally gets left within baby's reach. If you suspect that your baby has ingested even one pill, no matter if it's a prescription medication or a vitamin, it's best to take her to the emergency department to have her evaluated. Little bodies can have big reactions to even small doses of medicines designed for big bodies.

Poop - Yuck! That explosive diaper, those octopus-hands... more than a baby or two has been known to eat some of their own, to the shock and horror of their parents. In reality, poop is an organic material, and while it does contain bacteria, it's not likely that it will make your baby sick. If it happens, rinse out her mouth with a wet washcloth and use a baby tooth and gum cleanser to clean her mouth. Other than than, no major steps need to be taken.

Grass, flowers, weeds - It seems like an innocent enough thing, to let your baby crawl around or sit on a blanket outdoors on a nice day. I would never discourage that, and if she happens to get a few blades of grass or weeds in her mouth, there's no need to panic. Unless the grass has recently (within the past 8 hours) been treated with a pesticide, there's no need to seek medical attention. The biggest concern, just like a few of the other items, is a choking risk. My son's affinity for mulch is a great example of bulky things that can block their airway.

This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but it might give you a framework to work from. If your little one is heading into this crawling phase, or even if she's discovered her ability to purposely grab and bring things to her mouth, be on the look-out - they can be sneaky!
Dr. DuMond
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EMB2006 responded:
This is a great article!! About a month ago we had to take my now 10 1/2 month son to the doctor. When we got home I started to feed him lunch. He got choked up & I thought it was just the food. I looked at his finger and his band-aid was gone from where he had his finger pricked at the doctor. I asked my Dad if he had taken it off and he said no. My DS had managed to get the band-aid off his finger by chewing on it and swallowed it. That is what he got choked up on. All we could do is wait-I was a nervous wreck!! Thankfully he passed it the next day. We now make sure we take the band-aids off before we leave the doctor LOL. He's one of the kids that puts EVERYTHING in his mouth so we are now being very careful with what is in his reach.
Erin (24), DH (24), first baby-Lucas-born July 26, 2010-weighed 9lbs 10oz/21 inches long!! One spoiled dog.
mom2laurenmckenna responded:
My DD is 8 months and putting everything in her mouth.I saw something black in there just the other day. I fished it out and it was a big clump of sock fuzz from my husband's dress socks. LOL

I'm on the look out! They are so sneaky!

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