31 answers

My Son Swallowed a Coin!

If anyone has a child who swallowed a coin or other foreign object, could you tell me how long it took for the child to pass it? My 22-month-old "ate" a quarter on Monday, had 4 dirty diapers since and no coin so far. I am starting to worry even though the medical profession does not seem to. Any help?

4 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

We had a procedure today to remove the coin which had been stuck in the stomach for 11 days! We found out that the smallest part of the GI track in a child his age is NOT before the stomach (like we were told in the ER the day it happened)but after! The safest and prefered way to deal with this is to wait a while (even up to a month) and hope it comes out but Nathan started vomiting, not eating and that's why we had the procedure (general anesthesia, tube through the mouth).We now have a quite a story to tell and the quarter to prove it! Thanks for all your input. I really appreciated it!

More Answers

Hi I got you post a little late I too had a son to do something like that I wish it were as easy as that
My son is ten years old now ....but your coin story got my attention for this reason .... We were out on a date My husband and I We had no idea he had swallowed anything .... I notice my son coughing alot the next morning wondering what could be wrong . He ,along with his brothers 4 all together had a babysitter the night before ...
I told my husband it seems strange he coughs so different???I took Preston to the doctors and sure enough xrays and the found a foreign object they said it looks like a nickle or a quarter ??? just give him his bottle and go to this other hospital they will remove it (my Insurance ??) anyway to make a long story short....

a He had not swallowed a coin it was a battery from a saftey light (HA HA HA...for Halloween trick or treating to flash and warn people of children )
We started at one hospital and then went to 2 others 1 by ambulance he was in serious trouble we noticed his color changing . He bacame limp and had a high fever ! The thing that was horrible was the doctor told us just give him his bottle 13 months old at the time ... They could do nothing for 8 hours until the last sip of the milk they had what they thought was a coin , Went down there in his throat, found it to be a battery and everything changed he was experiencing 3rd degree burns in his throat and said his voice box may never work and so on .... he fed through a tube for 1 month& 1/2 through his nose /on a pump to make it go into his stomach by passing all the burn . They told me he may need skin graphs every year til adult hood ???

The moral of the story is do not give them any liquids if you think they may have swallowed anything... due to surgery to remove it ? and the other thing always get 2nd opinion and if it is a object, ANY OBJECT !!! get it out!!! dont wait anytime!!1 It could be something worse than a coin....
We did xrays ... it looked like a coin ? perfectly round and everyone seems to giggle and said another kid swallowed something and sent us on our way ... they had no idea the severity, and the wait we had 8 hour in emergency while the battery burned his throat . He is fine today screams loud and remembers the incident slightly ... he was in intensive care for 2 weeks in isolation ...
Very bad stuff... you are lucky I am glad you are all OK!

2 moms found this helpful

I would call your pediatrician or your local hospital and ask them. I was told when I thought that my son swallowed a quarter, that it should appear in a couple of days and if it didn't to call them or take him in. I do know that when it did finally pass (the next day), it was very difficult to find, but he was having hard stools. I would think that if it has not passed by now, they would at least want to do an x-ray or ultrasound to see if it is still in there.

1 mom found this helpful

Saw something like that on Discovery Channel Health. Usually food takes about 2-3 days to fully digest. If you notice that your son begins weezing then you should seek medical attention. Other than that, if you are still concerned sometimes you may need to be a little more demanding on what it is you want the doctors to do. I have the same issues with some medical providers. Good Luck :)

1 mom found this helpful

Now you should go buy the book "Curious George Goes to the Hospital" . . . It will mean a lot :)

1 mom found this helpful

The worst part is over. As long as it cleared his esophagus, it is now just a waiting game. This happened to our son a few years back and it took almost 10 days for it to pass. He was fine throughout and we had quite a story to tell since we thought he swallowed a nickel originally.

Hang in there. Chopsticks make the search a bit more palatable :].

1 mom found this helpful

my son was about 2years old when he did the same thing. Lucky for us we had a metal detector (like poeple use to look for coins in the ground), and scanned his belly every day. could tell by the beep that the coin was moving each day, then about a week later no beep - saved me from having to check the stools as well. Hope this helps

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, my son swallowed a penny once, and it took about a week for it to pass. It sounds like your son's bowels are still working properly, try not to worry yet. I know it is hard, I worried too, and was so relieved to finally see that penny!

1 mom found this helpful

I feel your pain! The waiting is frustrating. A few weeks ago, my 3 year old told me that she swallowed something. There were four pieces to this game she has, which were not quite as big as a quarter but definitely as long as a quarter. Anyway, I called the doc and was told that as long as she wasn't wheezing or coughing to give it a week or so (I waited a week and a half) and if she still hadn't passed it then to come in and have her x-rayed. She has bowel movements on time everyday and I checked her every day. Nada. We never saw it, so we took her in to have the x-rays. They took x-rays of her stomach and throat and nothing showed up. We either missed it in her stool or she never swallowed it at all. We searched everywhere and couldn't find it so I'm convinced it passed and we didn't notice it. A quarter is definitely big enough to show up on an x-ray. I say to give it about 10 days and then go in and have the x-ray done. If they don't pass it in a week or so then the doctors become worried that it has become lodged in their intestines or thier esophogus.(Believe it or not it can be lodged at the base of the throat and they still can breathe and act normal.) Better to be safe than sorry. Kids do all kinds of weird things and you can't watch them every second of the day. In the mean time watch out for sudden coughing or wheezing or sudden onset of stomach ache or vomitting. Those are the important signs of distress. I hope everything goes well and that your little one passes it soon. Waiting is the hardest part!!!

C., I have 3 boys. Granted they are much much older, but we have had broken bones, tons of stitches and even had coins, gum wrappers, pencil erasers, toys and even a balloon make its way through the gut. Give it time. I learned after a couple of incidents that if it doesnt worry the doctor, it shouldnt worry me. It will take a few stools before anything makes it way through. If they ever swallow a balloon, keep in mind that you may have to help pull it the rest of the way out. Now that was an eewww moment. Best of luck to you. T..

Just to let you know-my son swallowed a quarter and it took 5 days of fishing through his diapers to find it--That is how long the dr told me to wait--5 days is the limit and then they want to check things out and make sure it did not get hung up somewhere!

When my son was about 18 month's, he got into some money that I had put on a table for his Dad. Richard swallowed a nickle and was choking. I was scared, called his Dad and 911 police and an ambulance came. However, when they checked him over, he was completely fine. We went to the ER where they x-rayed him but the nickle was not there. Turn's out that when he started coughing, he threw the nickle up. Good luck and I hope your child is feeling better.

only thing you have to be concerned about is if it was a penny. The copper content in a penny is a bad thing. Since it is a quarter, just make sure it passes soon.

I swallowed a quarter when I was in college and I never saw/felt it pass. I'm pretty sure it came out eventually. Or for all I know it could be there somewhere still - though I doubt it. You could have them x-ray your child if you are really worried. I guess it's usually better to make sure it isn't still in there especially with such a young child. I have a 3 1/2 year old who is always putting things in his mouth, so I am surprised we haven't run into such a problem yet, as well as a 10 month old who just started picking up even the tiniest speck of anything off the floor and trying to eat it.

My nephew swallowed a nickel (it was quite a few years ago) when he was a baby. They actually did an xray on his intestines just to see where it actually wound up. I think it took about a week for it to pass. If nothing shows up by the end of the week, I would recontact my healthcare provider to see if your son should be x-rayed.

I have never experienced it personally, but I just recently read that it takes 12-24 hours to fully digest our food and pass it back out. So, although your child has had several dirty diapers it could still be food from the day before. I would give it at least 2 days. You may also want to try increasing his fiber intake. I read that there are two types: soluable and insoluable fiber. One type gives a fuller feeling, but the other they compare to Roto Rooter by which it flushes the system out. You can go online for a list of foods. This might help push it out faster and easier.

I have never experienced this myself but I have a friend whose 1 year old son swallowed a penny. He kept wheezing and after multiple visits to the doctor and nebulizer treatments, etc., he didn't get any better. They took him to the ER who x-rayed him and discovered the penny. It was already embedded in his esophogus and they performed emergency surgery to remove it.

I'd push your doctors to at least do an x-ray to find out if it is still in your child.

A friend's son swallowed one of those flat marble plant beads, about the size of a quarter and it came out 5 weeks later! They had thought they had missed it during the first few days, but couldn't believe it when they found it so many weeks later

Do not worry, your child will pass it, but not so soon. I experienced the same thing when my son was less than 2. He swallowed a nickel. His doctor told me to not worry about it, since he will pass it.I couldn't believe him, but my son did pass it after weeks.I have been checking everytime he uses the pot. I even quit, when one day I was surprised to find it when I was there to wipe him. So, be patient it will come out. Just watch, never tired.


hi C.,

I just went to the national naval medical center peds clinic today. My 4 year old claimed to swallow a penny last month and we still did not find it- the doctor said that the coin "should have passed within 2-3 days" and if there are any symptoms of vomiting and sever abdominal pain/fever to go to the er. I hope this helps

M. parrott

This happend to my sitters son- She called ask a nurse and they said that her son had to be seen by a doctor within 3 hours- however- he coughed and threwup right after he did it- They x-rayed and because of the placement of it determined that they had to retrieve it- They spent all night in the emergency room and then moved on to CHKD- Doctors were finally able to remove it and he was fine- I don't know if it was because it was a quarter and the way he swallowed it- that caused all the trouble- but he is perfectly fine-

My son also swallowed a coin and it took 10 days before it passed. A returned visit to the doctor and another xray to confirm that it was no longer in is body. You may have missed in his stool.

My daughter swallowed a dime, and it took 4 days for it to pass. So long as he is still having bowel movements and exhibiting normal behavior and eating properly, I wouldn't stress too much. As it is a big object, it takes a little longer to work through than the soft, squishy poopy. If he does have abdominal tenderness or failure to poop, call your doctor right away.

Hello, my now 25 yr old swallowed a Quarter when he was abt 4 yrs old, well he never passed it, he went to the hospital & it was in his food pipe & they went in to remove it & it just slipped down & said he would pass it sooner or later, well he never did. So he's pretty healthy so it must of not affected him if it's still there, plays basketball abt 3 times a week & works full-time. oops didn't see he had complications sorry to hear this, I hope your little one is feeling better now

Dear C.,

So glad the coin was removed.

My son swallowed a nail when he was 2 and it went through him point first. I think it took three days, but his did come out.

I'm glad you son is ok.

Go see another Dr!!!!!!! it could be stuck and causing obstructions later.

OUR son did NOT pass the coin....we went to the ER and the coin was lodged in his esophagus and they took x-rays and after 7 hours it will still in the SAME place...needless to say, he was Ambulanced down to san diego children's hospital and they removed it after it was in his THROAT for 11 hours....it was very scarey...we live in the temecula valley area and i was so disappoitned they DO NOT have any facilities to treat children....so, when i found out they were going to flight him down, i started to panic...then we ended up taking an ambulance so i could ride with him. it was a very expensive lesson and i strongly urge other moms just to go and get the xray to see exactly where it is and then see what the options are for removing the coin/object.
I would definitely get an XRAY to be sure it is NOT in his lungs....this is what i was told when i called the ER. and thankfully i did!

a quarter will be TOO LARGE to pass through a 22 month old....get an xray to be sure....

if the coin is in his system for too long, it's not a good thing.

hope this helps...keep us posted. i'll say some prayers for your child. there's nothing funny about swallowing any object as fas as i'm concerned. after what we went through it was very stressful.


Hi C., I'm new to this group but have a lot in common with you. My daughter (now 7) swallowed a dime at 27 mo's and like you I waited and disected for 3 weeks and no coin. She also had to have an endoscope not once but twice. Her opening at the bottom of stomach was a little small and stomach was not tilted enough to go on down. The second time it was a nickle, this time it stuck in her esophagus, they numbed her throat and rammed it down. Her grandpa now calls her "piggy bank". It's been five yrs. now and we're well over it, but was an ordeal then. I hope your child is doing better now and learns that doctors are OK.

Stay calm...though "little ones have smaller "plumming" ...I'm sure the Dr.'s
have seen/heard it all.....hope all is
well soon

Heres an odd one for ya.......my daughter must have been around 18 months when she swallowed a candy neckelace. She must have liked the taste of the candy so much that she stuck the whole thing in her mouth!! I had no idea it ever happened untill I got a call from my husband telling me that I had better come home rightaway because when he was changing her diaper there appeared to be some type of worm!!! I am like ''worm''!!! What? I rushed home and saw the big elastic string in her diaper. It was totally intact.Thank God she passed it normally because I was told that it could have wrapped around her bowel. That would have been bad. God was watching over my baby...

I swallowed a quarter when I was 5. They waited a few days for it to pass-nothing. I had the same procedure done and spent a day in the hospital. I can still taste it when I hear these stories:( I did receive lots of gifts from friends while inthe hospital. I also remember the doctor asking me if I wanted to keep the wet, grimy quarter. I said yes, parents said No!! :)

I am so glad you had the procedure done on your child and sorry I didn't see it sooner. We had a similar experience at just the same age with a quarter. The doctors in the emergency room took x-rays and said it was in his stomach and to just keep checking until it passed. Weeks later and a lot of checking for the expelled quarter (not that easy) there was still no quarter. More x-rays and it was still in his stomach. Our pediatrician finally sent us to a gastrointestinal doctor who explained that we were really lucky it didn't get past the stomach or it would have been major surgery. He said to never leave something to pass through, after the stomach it is major surgery since the valves get smaller.
Our son was slow to get out of anesthesia, he was really tired before the surgery and had had a runny nose. They gave him an antihistamine and decided to go forward with the surgery but he missed his nap time and was so exhausted that he just didn't want to wake up. By the way they were acting, I think they were scared. I was! When he did wake up, he was so frightened. Fortunately they let me into the recovery room right away. We still have the quarter taped to his baby book.... I'm glad your problem is solved!

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