Toddlers: Small object lodged in nose or ear

Small Object Lodged in Nose or Ear

Your toddler, while playing with his food or toys might insert a small object in his nose or ears causing him discomfort and pain. Learn how to deal with such a situation.

Small children, especially, toddlers are curious about the world around them, and they like to experiment with food, toys or whatever they might lay their hands on. In this curiosity, they sometimes end up putting small or sharp objects into their ears or nose.

What should You do if such a Situation Arises?

  • Firstly, stay calm. Panicking will not only scare your child who is already in pain, but will also lead to delay.
  • Find out how far the object is lodged into the body. If the object is very close to the surface of the ear, or nose, and if you feel you can manage to extract it with tweezers, you may go ahead. But, if it seems tricky or the object is very small, leave it for the doctor to extricate it, because you might end up pushing it further up.
  • Take your toddler to the doctor without losing much time. The more time the object stays lodged inside your child’s organs, the more difficulty it is going to cause.

What are the Signs of a Foreign Body in the Ear or Nose

Symptoms that your toddler has some object lodged in his ear or nose:

1. Nose

Your child might experience:

  • difficulty in breathing as one nostril might be blocked
  • pain or itchiness
  • smelly, yellowish discharge
  • bleeding from the nose
  • bad breath

2. Ear

Your child might experience:

  • ear pain (but sometimes he might not)
  • redness in or around the ear
  • discharge from the ear
  • hearing loss
  • irritation

Techniques to Remove the Objects

The doctors have a number of tools and techniques to remove the objects lodged inside the organs.

  • He may use tweezers – like forceps or a suction machine to remove the object.
  • If the object is in the nose, he may block one nostril of your child and ask him to blow his nose.
  • For an object lodged in the ear, he may use a magnet (in case of a metal object) to remove it or pour a few drops of oil so that the area becomes greasy/slippery and it’s easier to remove the object.
  • He may also prescribe some antibiotic ointment to prevent any infection.

How to Avoid Such Situations

It’s very natural for a small child to put objects in his organs; however it is best to avoid such situations. Learn how:

  • Most kids like to play with food that can lead to injuries. Supervise your child while he is eating, especially with foods like popcorn, nuts including peanuts, peas, cherries and seeds. Ask your child to sit down while eating or drinking.
  • Cut food into small pieces before giving it to your child. Also, remove seeds from fruits, and sharp or small bones from fish before giving it to him.
  • Playing with craft materials like beads, glitter, glue, buttons, etc. are a total no-no.
  • Don’t give him marbles, pen lids, or coins to play.
  • Similarly, needles or safety pins are a potential hazard.

How to Avoid Such Situations

  • Avoid cleaning your child’s ears with cotton swabs. They push the wax inside and harm the eardrum. If you simply need to clean your child’s ears, make sure you use cotton swabs specifically made for your child’s delicate ears.
  • Be very careful about the toys that you give your child to play with. Stuffed toys, tiny balls, polystyrene balls, dolls with hair, Lego with small pieces, clay, tiny cars, etc. are a big risk. Also, cheap quality toys break easily tempting your child to put its pieces inside his nose or ears.
  • Toys whose batteries can be removed easily by a child are again a health hazard. Not only these small batteries can be pushed inside the nose or ears, a leaking battery if swallowed can cause internal injury too.
  • Never play games with your impressionable toddler that involves putting/poking things in his/your nose or ears. You never know, he might try to imitate you in your absence which can be risky.
  • Keep your house clean. Always check in the corners or under the furniture for any pebbles, food grains, lentils, small broken parts, etc. Think from a child’s perspective because your child can reach places where you can’t even imagine. And of course, don’t forget to babyproof your house.

With a small child in the house, it pays to be attentive and careful to avoid such situations.

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