1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Foreign Object Nasal Obstruction

Help My Child Shoved Rocks Up His Nose!

By

Updated October 05, 2009

Foreign object nasal obstruction is when there is something lodged inside of the nose that is not supposed to be there. This usually happens to curious children who just happen to think it might be a good idea to see if a watermelon seed might sprout up there. Or, as my mother said to the pediatrician after my little brother shoved gravel up his nose on the playground, "Help, my child shoved rocks up his nose!"

Kids naturally have the curiosity to put things where they don’t belong. They rearrange your cupboards, put things in power outlets, and they even put things in their nose. Sometimes, they will tell you that something is in their nose. Sometimes children will put things in their nose and then forget about it, as was the case when my same brother put beans up his nose. You'd think he would have learned his lesson after the gravel incident.

So, unless your child tells you, how will you know that the foreign object is up there? A few signs to watch for include: nasal congestion on one side, bloody noses, and bad breath. Once you've established that something is indeed up your child's nose, here's what you should do to get it out.

  • Don't pull it out unless it is hanging out of the nose, safely within reach and you are certain it has not damaged any tissue.
  • Do not try to remove items in the nose using cotton swabs, tweezers, or other household items. Doing so may push the object further up the nose.
  • If your child is old enough to understand, advise him to breathe through his mouth as not to suck the object up further.
  • In an attempt to blow the object out, have your child close the clear nostril and lightly blow out. Be careful not to forcefully blow out or accidentally inhale through the nose while doing this. One or two tries should be sufficient if this method will work. Repeatedly trying may cause more damage to the nose.
  • Seek medical help at once if you cannot dislodge or see the object.
Of course, prevention is the best course of action. There is no perfectly childproofed home. But you can try to keep smaller objects out of your child’s roaming area in order to help prevent this from happening. Education is also key. Try to teach children that other than eating, things do not belong in our mouths, ears, or nose.

Sources:

American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. Chapter 17: Pediatric Otolaryngology. Accessed: February 17, 2009 on http://www.entnet.org/EducationAndResearch/upload/Chapter-17-Pediatric-Otolaryngology.pdf.

American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. Stuffy Nose. Accessed: February 17, 2009 on http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/stuffyNose.cfm.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.