November 29, 2018
Stopping a young child from putting everything and anything in their mouth can be a full-time job. Despite our best efforts, accidents do happen, most commonly with smaller objects like buttons and toys. But what are the consequences of swallowing a tiny object? Well, in a study conducted by BBC, six pediatricians from the UK took it upon themselves to swallow a small LEGO piece to see just how long it takes for it to pass through the human body.
According to Dr. Damian Roland, a consultant in pediatric emergency medicine reporting for BBC, if a child swallows an object around the size of a piece of corn and they don’t cough or choke, it’s unlikely that any damage will be done to the child. But, if the child swallows a button battery, parents should take immediate medical action because the battery can burn through the stomach or throat lining.
So, if your child does swallow a LEGO piece (or something similar)—in this case, each doctor swallowed the head of a Lego character—the study showed on average the body passes the object in 1.7 days. Only one person out of the six didn’t end up finding their piece, which they believe was due to the lack of investigating their stool samples.
We must warn parents and children, alike, do not try this experiment at home. But, if there is a chance your child swallows a small LEGO piece, you now know to expect it to return in 1-2 days.