Ingested foreign bodies in children are common as the world is a curious place to young children, who will put anything and everything into their mouth, and will often inadvertently swallow.
The usual practice is for plain films of the chest/abdomen to identify a foreign body.
Peak incidence of foreign body ingestion is between six months and six years 1.
Approximately 50% of children will be asymptomatic 2.
Coins are the most commonly ingested foreign body 3, along with toys, batteries, bones, and almost anything that can fit into a child's mouth.
- in one study ~65% of ingested foreign bodies were radiodense 2
Treatment and prognosis
Most foreign bodies make it into the stomach and beyond with up to 80% passing spontaneously 1. Batteries have a high rate of complication and should be urgently removed 3.
- 1. Ikenberry SO, Jue TL et-al. Management of ingested foreign bodies and food impactions. Gastrointest. Endosc. 2011;73 (6): 1085-91. doi:10.1016/j.gie.2010.11.010 - Pubmed citation
- 2. Uyemura MC. Foreign body ingestion in children. Am Fam Physician. 2005;72 (2): 287-91. Pubmed citation
- 3. Kay M, Wyllie R. Pediatric foreign bodies and their management. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2005;7 (3): 212-8. Pubmed citation