Number of children in ER due to swallowing small objects doubles

Number of children in ER due to swallowing small objects doubles

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kids will put anything and everything in their mouth. Most children and parents learn that the hard way. A growing number of young children are treated in emergency rooms after swallowing potentially dangerous items.

Pennies are by far the objects most likely to attract curious toddlers, who accidentally swallow the coins and are then rushed to the hospital.

"This study really highlights the need for increased vigilance in the home or anywhere that children are present,” Dr. Danielle Orsagh-Yentis from Nationwide Children’s Hospital said.

Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus found that between 1995 and 2015, nearly 800,000 kids younger than six-years-old were seen in an emergency room after consuming some kind of foreign object. Things like coins, toys, jewelry, nails, screws and perhaps most dangerous, are button batteries.

"These are those really small batteries that you find in watches, hearing aids, various remotes,” Dr. Orsagh-Yentis said.

If swallowed, batteries can burn a hole in a child's esophagus. Button battery-related emergency visits more than doubled over the study period. It is crucial for electronic devices containing those batteries to be kept up and out of kids’ reach.

Researchers say this study probably underestimates the number of kids injured after swallowing objects, since they only looked at those treated in emergency rooms.

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