First Aid For Foreign Objects Swallowed

A foreign object when swallowed could lead to various complications.  Though generally, small children swallow any object that they lay hands upon, even older children and adults may accidentally swallow foreign objects.

A foreign object when swallowed, may get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract.  Large foreign bodies unable to move further down may get stuck in the pharynx.

Ingestion Of Foreign Objects

  • Children, mostly babies, swallow beads, marbles, coins, small stones or pebbles, pins and small toys.  Sometimes they even choke on their food.
  • Adults, in addition to choking on food, may swallow broken teeth or dentures.

Symptoms Which Necessitate Administering First Aid For Foreign Objects Swallowed

When foreign objects are swallowed, the symptoms will differ depending on the size of the object and the position where it has got stuck as well as the pressure it exerts on other organs of the body.

  • The victim may choke as a foreign object gets stuck in the throat.
  • They may be nausea and the victim may find it difficult and painful to swallow.
  • There may be coughing which may result in the throwing out of the foreign object.  If not, then first aid for foreign objects swallowed would have to be carried out.

If there are no symptoms or if the symptoms are not prominent, it does not mean that there is no problem.  It may be some time before an inflammation or infection occurs.  So it is advisable to carry out the first aid immediately after swallowing the foreign object.

Suggestions Of First Aid For Foreign Objects Swallowed

  • When a foreign object is swallowed especially by a child, it is necessary to find out what has been swallowed.
  • No attempt should be made to induce the victim to vomit as this may further complicate matters.
  • The victim should not be fed anything until the object has been removed.
  • He should be taken immediately to the doctor who would examine him and decide on the next course of action. 


Some care needs to be taken to prevent situations where foreign objects are swallowed by children.

  • The child should not be given large pieces of food.
  • Objects which can be swallowed should not be kept within the reach of small children. 

The swallowing of a foreign object may seem like a minor problem.  However, if proper first aid for foreign objects swallowed is not carried out, it may lead to serious complications.

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