As a mom (and teacher), I strive everyday to engage, nurture, and expand the mind of my little one.
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Accidents Happen: Object in Nose

At some point before they start picking their nose incessantly (don't get me started about boogers!), toddlers have been known to give nasal "input" a try. I'll admit it, even I have a personal (and I do mean, personal) story of nasal ingestion, but first read Chitown Momma's story of her toddler B and the wheel that almost got away!

Causes: Curious toddler given a toy to have in his crib during nap, apparently wants to see if the wheel from his Matchbox tank will fit in the facial crevice (otherwise known as the nose!) Now, this toy has been played with countless times, so this unsuspecting momma never gave it a thought. Fast forward through a delightful three hour nap…

Symptoms: Come in when I hear him fussing over the monitor, he says “Nose.” (my little guy is a man of few words, literally!) He typically has me wipe his nose, so no red flags just yet. He then says, “Dirt” while pointing to his nose…hmmm. Finally says, “Tickle,” in a not so much haha voice but rather a little pathetic, painful whimper (note to self: work on the meaning of tickle.) So I touch the outside of his nose and sure enough I can feel something hard up there.

My Response: Call pediatrician’s office, which of course it is right at closing time, and leave a message on the medical advice mailbox. Then call my husband. At this point I still didn’t know what it was. He tells me to get a flashlight and look up there (so smart!) I then see that it is green, army green, and make the connection. Find the tank in his crib and sure enough two of the wheels are missing. (I later broke off a third one just to see, and it required quite a bit of force). Hubby suggests trying to take it out with tweezers. I wasn’t so keen on the idea, but knew I needed to do something. However, holding down a toddler by yourself and working with tweezers is next to impossible. Luckily the dr.’s office called back.

Recommended medical treatment: Pinch the unobstructed nostril shut. Place your mouth over your child’s mouth forming a seal (envision administering mouth-to-mouth). Blow forcefully into your child’s mouth. It totally works. The object does not come flying out but it definitely gets pushed down to where you can get it without tweezers! However, this method does require 2 adults, as the little one does not enjoy this experience! This method only produced one of the two wheels, so we can only assume that the other was swallowed or had previously been broken off and I didn’t know. I had intentions of monitoring diapers to find it, but silly me served peas that night for dinner. I felt the danger had passed and did not feel the need to determine if each little green morsel was a pea or the MIA wheel!

Note: Prior to getting the phone call from the office, I emailed my Ped (love that she offers this!). She emailed me back saying to bring him in at 9 the next day. Now I don’t think I could have put B to bed knowing there was a wheel in his nose, but clearly the doc didn’t think it was an emergency. When I emailed her to say we got the one out we could see, but the other was MIA, she said there was no need to come in at all. Enough time had passed that there was no danger of choking.

Other likely culprits, according to BabyCenter:

  • Candies: Brightly colored and just the right size; need I say more? Jelly beans, M&M's, Nerds, Skittles,

  • Food: Because of easy access (hello, toddlers have to eat) probably the most common thing that a toddler will stick up his nose. Spaghetti noodles, French fries, beans, peas, Cheerios, ...

  • Small Toys: Guessing this is part of the reason there's a toy category known as three and older. Legos, crayons or pencils, marbles, small action figure or doll accessories, ... are you saying, "Ouch," right about now?

  • Household Items: So many small things around the house, so little time! Q-Tips, pet food, batteries, caps to bottles, beads, paperclips, ...

  • Mattress/Pillow stuffing: Small pieces of foam, fabric, batting can either come loose or be torn loose and then "stuffed" into the nose. I apparently did this when I was about two years old - without my parents realizing it. My mom claims that I had the worst breath she had ever smelled (nice, huh?) and my nose began running constantly with a bright green colored snot. At the doctor's office, it was found that the foam inside my nasal passage was rotting and causing an infection ... thus the bad breath and disgusting snot!

Other Symptoms: If a strange object has made its way into your toddler's nose, you may notice that just one nostril is runny, and the discharge could be stinky. (If the runny nose is due to a cold, both sides will probably be runny.) Your child may complain of a tickle, pain or discomfort, or he may get a nosebleed.

On a More Serious Note: A lodged object can cause infection and long-term damage. Some objects cause a bigger problem the longer you wait. (A bean can swell and become more difficult to remove, for example, and a small button battery can cause serious tissue damage.)

A final thought: Yes, my mommy (and daddy) friends, Accidents Happen, and sometimes odd objects find their way into tiny orifices (I've been itching to use that word!). All we can do is ensure toys are appropriate for our toddler and supervise him/her closely. When all else fails, it's important to rely on knowledge of symptoms and how to respond.

You may also want to read my other Accidents Happen posts:


Big Mama Cass said...

I am ALWAYS afraid Monkey is going to stick something other than his finger in his nose. I am just waiting for the day. *ugh*

SupahMommy said...

oHhh.. read this post.

good job chi. :)

Deann said...

Great info! Good to know how to do an ER extraction!

EmmaLouWho said...

Oh that is so good to know... I never would have thought to do that. Thanks :-)