Foreign bodies

​It is common for small children to put objects into their mouths. The objects may then be swallowed or end up obstructing the upper respiratory tract.
A foreign body in the upper respiratory tract typically causes sudden, severe coughing and breathing difficulties. If you suspect the child's airways are blocked by a foreign body, seek medical assistance without delay.

A swallowed foreign body usually passes harmlessly through the gastrointestinal tract and is removed with stools. However, if the foreign body has sharp edges, it may become stuck. If your child complains about esophageal or abdominal pains, seek medical assistance without delay.



If your child does not have any symptoms, monitor him or her at home. Offer foods rich in fibre and plenty of fluids to facilitate the foreign body's passage through the gastrointestinal tract. Inspect your child's stools until you find the foreign body. It should be out in a couple of days. If you suspect the foreign body might be toxic or corrosive (e.g. button cells), contact the Poison Information Center for detailed instructions (tel. 09 471 977).

Pea up the nose?


Small children have a tendency to shove anything that is sufficiently small up their noses - pebbles, peas, berries, beads… Blowing hard through the nostrils may pop the foreign body out. However, do not try to pry into your child's nose to remove a foreign body. Most likely you will only end up pushing the object in deeper. Take your child to a health centre where a physician can dislodge the foreign body.