A couple who rushed their toddler to hospital after suspecting he’d swallowed an object were shocked to see Spongebob Squarepants smiling back at them from an X-ray of the boy’s stomach. It turned out the 16-month-old from Saudi Arabia had swallowed a pendant of the cartoon character belonging to his sister.
The radiologist was equally surprised. “SpongeBob, I screamed!!! I was amazed by the visible details. You can see his freckles, shoes and fingers…AMAZING,” Dr. Ghofran Ageely, a radiology resident at King Abdulaziz University Hospital, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, wrote in an email to Live Science.
Doctors freed the pendant from the boy’s oesophagus without any complications and the toddler is now back at home with his family – but hopefully staying away from his sister’s jewellery box!
Dr Agreely then shared the X-ray as a warning to parents about the dangers of their toddler swallowing or even inhaling small objects.
It’s normal for toddlers to explore with their mouths, but what you do if they swallow something? Read our expert advice from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents…
How to reduce the risk of your child swallowing an object
- Keep small objects out of reach including coins, pins, screws and beads.
- Watch out for small, round food items including peanuts, whole grapes and boiled sweets.
- Choose toys from a well-known manufacturer and check for warnings of small parts.
- Never let children run with objects in their mouths or while they’re eating.
What to do if your child swallows an object
- Most of the time, an object which disappears into a child’s mouth will be swallowed and make its way through the body naturally.
- However, if you’re worried about what he/she may have swallowed, but your child is breathing normally, don’t do anything apart from encouraging his/her own efforts. Call for medical help if you’re concerned.
- Don’t slap your child on the back whilst he/she is upright and don’t put your fingers into your child’s mouth to feel for the object – you are most likely to push it further down or cause bleeding.
Coughing and breathing difficulties are signs that the object may have gone into the windpipe. This is serious – get medical attention straight away.