Kids have notoriously unrefined palates — they’ll put anything in their mouths just to figure out what it is. If it’s small enough, it’s gone, and while lots of stuff can pass right on through, lots of other stuff can get stuck. Lots of really weird other stuff. Seriously, you won’t believe what some of these kids choked down (or, in one case, what they choked back up).
Sometimes toddlers mistake small toys for candy and sometimes parents willfully buy their kids choking hazards. In 2007, a 7-year-old, hip hop-loving Florida boy choked on a $10 grill his mom bought him from a flea market while he was still snapping photos mugging with it. At the emergency room, doctors said the whole situation could have been avoided if the boy’s favorite rapper had been DJ Kool.
A Rubber Duck Squeaker [youtube https://www.youtube.com/embed/uIZtBzFd7xQ expand=1] When your kid has been squeaking like a rubber duck every time he talks or laughs for the last 2 weeks, and the doctor tells you it’s either psychological or constipation, you go find another doctor who believes your story about the kid swallowing a rubber duck squeaker.
An LED Light [youtube https://www.youtube.com/embed/PQ1VjgXWZr0 expand=1] Two universal truths: If you’re a 6-year-old boy and you want to know if a little flashing LED light will be visible through your cheek, you put it in your mouth. If you’re his dad, you grab the video camera after he accidentally swallows it and go get that America’s Funniest Home Videos money (because it’s 2005 and you don’t yet have the option to go get those Instagram likes).
One small magnet could pass without incident like a coin or a button, but two or more can tear the intestines and require surgery because they attract each other inside the digestive system — and little kids never eat just one. In 2012, a 3-year-old girl ingested a ridiculous 37 Buckyballs; two years and multiple incidents later, the company was no more. Yeah, magnets.
A 19th Century Vest Buckle
Babies put things in their mouth to make sense of their world, but one incident in 1897 had a profound effect on everyone else’s world, too. Dr. Charles Mayo used a newfangled technology called an x-ray to determine the orientation of a vest buckle lodged in a 3-year-old boy’s esophagus. Surgery was successful, the boy was discharged after 13 days, and radiology at the Mayo Clinic was born.
One horrible way to teach your baby that humans are 80-percent water: have them eat an expanding ball that grows more than 400 times its original size if left in water. That’s what happened to an 8-month-old Texas girl who consumed a toy called Water Balz, which starts out looking more or less like a piece of gum — just one that can seriously gum up your internal plumbing if swallowed.
A Toy Dart
Speaking of second opinions, here’s another example of when you might want to go get one: Your 7-year-old inhales a toy dart tip, but the doctor can’t find it even though your kid’s sniffles persist — for 44 years. Or just wait until he sneezes it out at age 51. Up to you.
“Who lives in a toddler in Saudi Arabia…?”
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