Kids putting things in their mouths that they aren’t supposed to isn’t a new problem. But it’s one that’s becoming more common—and more dangerous. A recent study revealed that the number of children admitted to the ER for swallowing objects is the highest its ever been.
Using data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, researchers found that between 1995 and 2015, approximately 755,000 ER visits of kids under the age of six were due to swallowing small objects, which breaks down to about 99 visits each day. In 2015 alone, there were over twice as many visits than there were in 1995, at TK compared to TK.
The study, published Friday in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal Pediatrics, also reported that the rate of children being admitted was up to 18 out of every 10,000 in 2015, nearly double what it was in 1995 at just 9.5 out of every 10,000 kids.
Lead study author Dr. Danielle Orsagh-Yentis told NBC News that she decided to look into the issue “when we were all being called in in the middle of the night at odd hours to remove foreign bodies from either the esophagus or stomachs of children.”
And as far as what specific objects kids are swallowing, Orsagh-Yentis and her team found that coins, primarily pennies, were the most common. Close behind were toys (particularly marbles), jewelry (earrings), and batteries (often small button batteries).
While the AAP recommends that parents keep small items like coins, batteries, and magnets out of reach of young children, Orsagh-Yentis also strongly reminds parents that any child who swallows one of those objects “should be brought to the emergency room as quickly as possible” as it can lead to intestine damage, blood poisoning, and even death.