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Swallowed Object

Swallowed Object Overview

Buttons, button batteries, pins, fishbones, balloons: all these items and more are swallowed by adults and children by accident or on purpose.

Parents of infants and toddlers are most likely to seek medical attention. Children in this age group are curious and often eat inedible materials such as dirt and coins, and also have trouble swallowing some common foods.

Older children and adults may swallow objects to seek attention or may have trouble with the anatomy of their esophagus leading to a blockage after eating a normal meal.

  • A swallowed object that blocks the airway is a true medical emergency. If the person is not breathing, call 911 for this medical emergency immediately.
  • Most swallowed objects pass through the body and out in a bowel movement without any medical intervention.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2014
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