Out of the mouths of babes ... a strange collection of objects


Out of the mouths of babes ... a strange collection of objects

Coins top the list of bizarre things kids pop into their mouths and inhale, a study has found

Senior science reporter

Coins, batteries, plastic toys, buttons, screws, seeds, needles and bones.
It may sound like a strange shopping list but these are, in fact, the small objects that young children are popping into their mouths then swallowing or inhaling.
A new study ay Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg found that under-12s are most at risk, with coins being by far the biggest threat and making up a whopping 72% of all the cases (105) that came into the hospital over a three-year period.
Batteries were a distant second at about 6%, then plastic toys and buttons, both at about 5%.
The more strange objects that were swallowed (though highly infrequently) included bones, curtain hooks and nails.The results, just published in the South African Medical Journal, tend to reflect similar findings in other countries, and in other parts of South Africa.
According to lead researcher Victory Kong and the team, “foreign body ingestion and aspiration is a common paediatric emergency, and treatment needs to follow well-established principles”.They said the “primary concern is adequacy of the airway” and that “airway skills may be needed to deal with these problems”.
At the Red Cross Children’s War Memorial Hospital in Cape Town, statistics looked very similar to those at Grey’s.Coins were the main culprit, and the age range was similar with three-year-olds being most at risk.
According to online parenting resource New Visions, babies and children put things in their mouths because this is “truly their window to the world”.
Even in the mother's uterus a baby will suck its fingers, and after birth will “continue to put their own hands in their mouths, and suck or mouth the fingers of a parent, the edge of a blanket, clothing, pacifiers and other objects that came into contact with the mouth”.

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