Coins, X-rays and Cling film

My daughter swallowed a coin yesterday morning. Well, it’s not a coin, its something shaped exactly like a coin. Every person who saw it before it went on its fateful journey down her little throat described it differently. J says “It’s not a coin, it’s a magniks*, but I will call it a coin”.
*Magnet. It isn’t a magnet.

It didn’t go down smoothly and scared her quite a bit because it was big and solid in her throat.

Question, how many of you know first aid? I don’t. I wasn’t there when she actually swallowed the coin but even if I had been I wouldn’t have known what to do if it had got stuck in her throat! That thought scares me. (I have researched and included what to do if your child does swallow a foreign object at the bottom of this post.) Therefore, I am looking for someone or a place that give first aid lessons and will take as many people I know with me to take lessons.

It has been 36 hours and 2 emergency room visits since J swallowed the coin and it has yet to… show up. J has a different way of thinking that anyone else I know. I assumed she didn’t want to go to the bathroom because she was worried it would hurt. I was very wrong. After the third bathroom visit with no results I asked her what was up. “J, are you worried it will hurt?” she shakes her head. “J, what is it you are worried about?”. She shakes her head.

It was an awkward situation. I had to get some cling film and lift the toilet seat to stretch it lightly over the toilet bowl so it can collect the stool. J thought this was just insane and refused completely to even consider sitting on the toilet at first. Her reply to my explanation of why we are doing this was “You can get some gloves mama and look for it in the toilet”. I obviously said “No J, I will not” and she said “But mama, with gloves…”.

I rethink my strategy. J has a lot of pride. And having everyone outside know we are inside the toilet waiting for her to poo and then knowing we will have to pay more attention to her poo than both her and I want to may be hurting her pride a bit. So I say “J, I promise you no one else will come in there but you and I” She says “Lock the door mama. And I don’t want anyone else to see”. Finally! So we have a little success that she actually went to the bathroom but not with the result we wanted.

Last night she was worried sick about it. So much so she said her stomach was hurting her and started throwing up (The reason for the second ER visit) and after they X-Rayed her for the 2nd time that day they saw that the coin had left her stomach and was heading in it’s merry way to the exit. So she should not have felt any pain. We went home and after a bath and story she fell asleep and didn’t wake at all during the night so (Thank God) she obviously wasn’t in pain.

I have never spoken so much about my daughters poo in my life. I have Aunts, Uncles, Cousins calling me up and having detailed conversations about J’s bathroom habits. Also, I have heard some fantastic stories!

My Aunt called me up and told me that she swallowed a whistle when she was younger. Her daughter swallowed a diamond (I assume it fell from someone’s jewelry). Now if you’re gonna swallow something it might as well be a diamond. I had dinner with my cousin and his fiancé tonight and we were (again) talking about J’s poo and ways of collecting and finding out if the coin was expelled and he looked at us and said “Do you really need the coin that badly? I mean why would you want it?” I was on the floor laughing! We explained I didn’t want it, just needed to be sure it was out! But if J had swallowed a diamond my answer would be different.

A friend of mine apparently swallowed weird things on 5 different occasions during her childhood from coins to marbles and as she said “I’m just fine now”. You are now, but I’m a little curious about why you were swallowing so many things during your childhood! And a friends brother swallowed all the beads off a rosary “Sabha”.

Anyway, I am tired and I have a long day of waiting for J to poo tomorrow. I got some metamucil (Fiber to help things go) and will feed her “muloukhiya” (I have to add the recipe for that as some time because for some reason I have never met a child who does not like it and it is very healthy).

What to do if your child swallows a foreign object (From the Parenting and Child Health website):

Is this an emergency?

If you see your child swallowing something, and you cannot stop it happening, or your child may have swallowed something, look for these signs that there could be a problem requiring emergency treatment:

  • trouble breathing, crying or talking
  • coughing that does not clear the airways (the trachea or bronchi)
  • wheezing or noisy breathing
  • trouble swallowing
  • drooling or bringing up saliva
  • loss of consciousness.

If these happen, it may mean that your child’s airway is blocked.Call for emergency help: 999 in Saudi Arabia.

Objects that can be dangerous to swallow

  • Small coin-shaped batteries can cause harm if they do not pass through the body quickly, as the chemicals inside can leak out and burn the surrounding tissue, or they can cause a small electric current which can also do harm.
  • Objects that are small enough to swallow, but larger than about 18mm across may get stuck on the way down in small children.
    • All Australian coins, including the 5 cent and 2 dollar coins are larger than 18 mm, so they may cause problems.
  • Objects that are pointed (eg. open safety pins, toothpicks, stiff wire, fish and chicken bones) can pierce the gut, so if you think your child has swallowed one the child needs to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.

Is it stuck?

The narrowest part of the gut is the oesophagus (the tube leading down from the throat to the stomach). If an object passes down into the stomach, it will usually pass through the rest of the gut within a few days (usually less than 4 to 5 days, often within 2 days).

Signs that the object may be stuck include:

  • chest or tummy pain
  • not being able, or willing, to swallow food or drink,
  • dribbling or drooling
  • vomiting,
  • becoming unwell, with a fever.

Note: A stuck object may not cause any symptoms at first.

What you can do

  • If there are any symptoms
    • do not give the child anything to eat or drink,
    • do not try to make the child vomit,
    • have the child seen by a doctor as soon as possible, or take the child to a hospital emergency department.


  • If the object was likely to be dangerous (eg. battery, pointed object, tablets, poison, lead sinker, coin), take the child to a doctor as soon as possible.
  • If the object was small, smooth, and not likely to be poisonous (eg. small marble, small coin or button), and there are no symptoms, it is probably reasonable to wait for a while and watch the child, but take the child to a doctor if there are any concerns.
    • Watch the child’s poo to see if the object is passed.
    • If it has not passed in several days, and you are sure that the child did swallow something, take the child to your doctor for advice.
    • Do not give the child laxatives or extra fibre.


  • Many objects will show up on X-ray, so this will probably be the first thing that is done.
  • If an object is stuck in the oesophagus, it will usually be removed using an endoscope (a flexible tube which can be passed into the child’s oesophagus to grab the object). The child will be given an anaesthetic for this. Other surgery is usually not necessary.
  • If the object is in, or below, the stomach, often your doctor will recommend waiting to see what happens naturally. This depends on what has been swallowed. If the child has swallowed a small battery for example, and it is still in the stomach, the doctor may recommend removing it using an endoscope. If it is lower down, waiting to see what happens may be the best management.


  1. Alhamdulillah she isn’t in any pain. My mom told me that I swallowed the chain of a necklace. The doctor told her that I would eventually pass it. All she could do was watch if it came out in my poo and it did. I love molokhia and if I eat too much of it…well you know! lol

  2. U can take CPR lessons and be a certified BLS provider ( basic life support) which includes child choking on foreign objects,which is the most threatening as it causes obstruction of airway.
    It’s provided in Jeddah in IMC for 300 riyals.


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