When Your Child Swallows a Coin

coins Well it finally happened in my household. One of my younger children swallowed a coin. I’ve heard many stories from friends swallowing coins, but I have always been pretty diligent (lucky), and it never happened to us. Until yesterday that is.

I was in the family room late in the afternoon, putting on lights and thinking I would find some entertainment for the three kids while I attended to dinner. My oldest had just finished his homework, my husband was not yet home, and this is always the “hectic” time in my house.

My four-year-old daughter came into the room to tell me that she had just swallowed money. She said that she tried not to, but it went down anyway. I staved off immediate panic since she was breathing and speaking clearly (the first consider is whether the coin is causing a blockage or partial blockage of the airway. My daughter was upset but clearly not in any respiratory distress. She also didn’t complain of any pain in her throat, and she wasn’t drooling (coins can sometimes get lodged in the esophagus).

I wanted to present a calm demeanor to keep her calm, while I called the pediatrician’s office. But I confess that I did start to panic in the next minute when the power went out.

My eldest child went to fetch the battery powered lantern, while I used the light on the cordless phone to see well enough to disconnect it and reconnect a regular wired phone. While I dialed the office, I instructed my eldest to confirm the exact coin that was swallowed by showing my daughter the different choices. “It was a dime, Mom!” he reported back.

In most cases, swallowing a coin does not require emergency care. In spite of my daughter being convinced that the doctor would have to cut her open, the prescribed solution is to wait for the coin to pass, examining all stool until it does. This could take anywhere from a day to a week. Ah, fun, fun, fun. Any stomach pain or rectal bleeding requires another call to the office. But, as in any case of a foreign object being swallowed, the pediatrician should be called. Do not give any food or milk until it can be confirmed that the coin is not lodged anywhere. If there is any respiratory distress, drooling or inability to swallow, call 911 or emergency services.

Mary Ann Romans writes about everything related to saving money in the Frugal Blog, creating a home in the Home Blog, caring for little ones in the Baby Blog and now relationships in the Marriage Blog. You can read more of her articles by clicking here or subscribe to the blog using the subscription box on the right.

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for Families.com since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT verizon.net or visit her personal blog http://homeinawoods.wordpress.com