Approximately 1000 children die from inhaled foreign bodies per year and around the age of 3 yo. Mostly between 1 –2 yo. The most common inhaled objects are food and nuts but potentially any small item.
A history of choking /coughing with associated respiratory distress like wheeze noisy whistling breathing , “ turning blue “ with coughing or wheeze., a subsequent quiescent asymptomatic phase may prevail then be followed by respiratory complications like bronchitis or pneumonia with symptoms of cough , fever and being generally unwell.
Metal and glass objects may show on xray but plastic and food or other organic objects will not . A swallowed battery is a an urgent medical emergency because of its corrosive nature. Especially beware hearing aid , watch and other button batteries.
It is recommended that hard lollies , popcorn , raw carrot , raw apple be avoided under 15 months and nuts not be offered until after 4 yo
Chest thrusts or back slaps are appropriate during choking episodes.
If suspicious of foreign body ingestion or aspiration a GP or A&E review is appropriate Specialist paediatrician ENT review may be required.