Children and inhaled foreign bodies

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.