When children pass the age of 3 years, parents are the happiest being on earth. This is because, past three years, kids can differentiate right and wrong. And in most, they can express themselves. At this stage, they tend to put every little thing in their mouth.
Kids tend to mostly swallow coins, buttons, pins, threads, fish bone, and balloons. As a parent, you must know which symptoms to look out for if your child swallows any of those items.
Why Your Child Swallowed Thread
Kids are curious. At this age, they tend to eat inedible items such as thread and buttons. Bright colors intensify their temptation to eat it. If your baby is little older than three years, he knows it is wrong to swallow objects; therefore, he may have done it to seek your attention.
If the thread were less than a cm, nothing serious would happen as it will come out in the poop. However, it might choke your baby if it is a long piece of the thread, and it gets stuck. And this might result in gagging and vomiting. If your baby is lucky, it might come out with vomit.
Suppose the thread was rough; it might cause damage like scratching at the back of the throat leading to some light breeding. Scratching might cause pain every time your baby swallows food; therefore, he/she will refuse to eat. His inability to swallow anything, even saliva, might result in drooling.
If your child swallowed the thread and has not eaten anything, chances are the thread may tie-up his intestine. And this can be calamitous for the child as only surgery can remove it.
When You Should Seek Medical Attention
If the thread were small, no need to panic as your baby would pass it out with poop. Keep your baby’s poop to confirm that it is out. If your child swallows a long piece of thread, call your doctors and give a detailed description of the item. The doctor may ask you to visit the hospital for a routine checkup if your child shows no symptoms after swallowing the thread.
Suppose your child has mild symptoms like coughing, gagging, and vomiting. Please see your doctor immediately. It would be best if brought along a sample of the thread so that the doctor can determine the level of damage it can cause. He/she may refer you to the emergency department for immediate treatment.
How Is a Swallowed Thread Diagnosed?
The doctor will take a complete medical history of the child. He will then ask to see a sample of the thread your baby swallowed and confirm the length. He will then ask you about the symptoms your child is showing. The doctor will then conduct a physical examination of his mouth, throat, lungs, and stomach.
If the physical examination does not give conclusive results, the doctor will order an X-ray of the neck, chest, and abdomen. This will help him identify the thread’s location and any other objects the baby might have swallowed without your knowledge.
If it is not visible, your doctor might use an enhanced X-ray with barium, which helps locate stuck objects not visible using a regular X-ray machine. Or he may perform a direct inspection to see if the thread is stuck using a special fiber-optic light. You might be required to hold down your baby as this process requires you to be as still as possible. If, for sure, it is stuck in the esophagus. The doctor performs an endoscopy surgery to remove the thread.
If an Abdominal x-ray shows that the thread has obstructed your baby intestines, surgery will be done to clear the path.
It is common knowledge that babies are curious by nature’; therefore, parents should remove all those bright colored objects within their reach. And when your baby is playing with his/her toys, keep a close watch. Parents should also shower their babies with love and attention to prevent them from swallowing items such as thread to seek their attention.
As a parent, you should be aware of the symptoms of swallowing inedible objects. You should also have the number of your doctors or the nearest emergency department on speed dial in such incidents.