Home > Kids > Childhood Safety > Home Safety > Passing Swallowed Objects
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Passing Swallowed Objects

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: My six-year-old daughter swallowed a polished stone about the size of a nickel five days ago and even though she has had several bowel movements the stone has not reappeared. What should I do?

A: The first question you always want to ask yourself when you realize that a child swallowed an object is, "Was it truly swallowed or was it aspirated into the lung?" If it had actually gone into the windpipe or the lung I would expect that she would have symptoms of coughing and other respritory complaints. So presuming that none of those are present and you are pretty sure that she swallowed the stone, the next question is, "Has the stone moved along through the food pipe into the stomach and into the intestines in order for it to get down to the stool?"

There is a possibility that something the size of a nickel might not be able to get through the junction between the esophagus (the food pipe) and the stomach. Once it gets into the stomach it then needs to go through the duodenum, which is the very first part of the intestine and which is somewhat narrower than the rest of the intestine. If it gets through that part of the intestine then the rest of the intestine is fairly large and the stone should be able to travel through the rest of the intestine and you would expect to see it in the stool.

Usually you would expect this to happen within about 4 to 5 days so I am somewhat concerned that you have not seen it in the stool. I would recommend that you call your doctor and have your doctor see her in order to determine if there is a need to look for where the stone is. Depending upon what the stone is made of it may or may not be visible on a plain x-ray.

More on: Expert Advice

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks