What if I accidentally swallowed glass?
Splinters of glass swallowed - what to do? First aid for parents
In this article
Once a child is part of the family, parents are responsible not only for their own health, but also for the health of their child. For many people, the creativity with which our children discover their environment is surprising and often unpredictable. That is why accidents happen every now and then that require first aid measures and / or the calling of emergency services.
Ingestion of foreign bodies (ingestion)
Small children often use their mouths to explore their surroundings: taste, feel, hear ... About 50% of all accidents caused by swallowing happen at this age (toddler age). Can be swallowed
- smaller round objects (pearls, nuts)
- Household poisons / tablets
- larger objects (toy figures, chestnuts, coins)
- Pointed or sharp objects (glass splinters / broken glass, needles, thumbtacks, nails, toothpicks)
What is so dangerous when swallowing pointed or sharp objects?
It is not uncommon for swallowed objects to be pointed or sharp. Why is it so dangerous?
Glass splinters or broken glass can be excreted in the stool. But on their way they could injure the mouth, the esophagus, the adjacent windpipe, the stomach and the intestines. This can lead to bleeding and life-threatening infections. The glass splinters could also get stuck somewhere and not leave the body by themselves. This poses a great danger. Blocking the airways through obstruction would also be possible, which can lead to suffocation.
Imagine your child is given juice to drink from a colorful children's glass. It is interested, marveled at the colors. It reaches for it, brings it to its mouth and slowly tastes: sweet! Delicious! With his tongue he feels the consistency, the temperature and the edge of the glass. Something is messing up next to it. Oh! It lets its teeth rattle on the glass and is happy about the sound. Sound! Without hesitation, it bites harder to test the material further ... And then it happened. The glass breaks and your child has glass splinters in his mouth and automatically swallows them with the juice in his mouth, it still has a few splinters in its mouth and grimaces: that doesn't feel right.
Splinters of glass swallowed - symptoms
- Increased salivation
- Frequent swallowing
- Nausea / vomiting
- (Stomach pain
- Bleeding from the mouth if injuries have been caused
- With simultaneous narrowing of the airways: cough, shortness of breath, blue discoloration of the face / lips, unconsciousness
First aid measures
Keep Calm! Remove any visible splinters from the mouth before they are swallowed. Under no circumstances should you try to remove the swallowed splinter from the throat or stomach with your fingers or other aids, so please do not induce vomiting, because not only on the way there, but also on the way back, the glass splinters could injure the patient Digestive tract come. Flushing it down with food or drink or even laxatives is not suitable in this case, because the pointed object is forcefully transported and the extent of the injury can be increased.
The first aid measure after your child has swallowed broken glass consists in not taking any independent measures, but rather:
- Call an emergency doctor if there are signs of suffocation or visible bleeding
in all other cases
- Go to the emergency room
- Calm down child
- If possible, take something to compare with you to the clinic
Doctors will do a very thorough examination of your child to rule out bleeding and prevent infection. The treatment measures will be carried out accordingly. A gastroscopy with removal of the broken glass may also be necessary. Inpatient monitoring is sometimes sufficient, as the splinter leaves the body the natural way and does not cause any further problems.
To avoid accidents with small glass splinters or larger glass shards, you can consider several things:
- Avoidance of thin-walled glasses from which children can bite glass
- No risky objects to play with (china, bottles with medicine, glass ornaments, glass jewelry ...).
- When playing outdoors (beach, park ...), make sure the child does not pick up any broken glass
- Discard damaged glass preserves or glass bottles, not all small splinters can be collected
- If the glass is broken in the apartment, vacuum immediately
- Keep medicine bottles and bottles with detergents safe from children
Many organizations, health insurances or private practices also offer first aid training for babies and children. Such a course could increase your confidence in your actions and contribute to a calm, level-headed reaction if an accident happens to your child. But actually I wish you very much that you never have to use this first aid knowledge.
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