"You Did What?"
Surprise! Your Child…
…swallowed a dime.
What you should do: Assuming it went down smoothly (no choking), call your pediatrician. She will probably order an X-ray to make sure the object is in the stomach, not the lungs. (In rare cases, children can inhale something, which is much more serious.) Then wait. “Most things come out the other end in about two to four days,” says Cara Natterson, a pediatrician in Los Angeles and the author of Dangerous or Safe? (Hudson Street Press, $26, amazon.com). “If it’s round or smooth, it won’t cause damage going through.”
Resist the urge to: Freak out. Check the toilet if you want to, but it’s tough to locate a small object if your child uses a toilet and not diapers. “I was too grossed out to poke around, so I just assume it came out,” says Kelly Bourland, a mother in Memphis, whose daughter swallowed a coin at school. “I guess we’ll never know what kind of coin it was!”
Everyone agrees embarrassment can be excruciating. But is the emotion all bad? Discover its surprising upside—and learn how to get over it more easily—with this expert advice for kids and adults.