Who knows who’s in that nose? – First Aid for Anxious Parents

Raisins, peanuts, little yellow Lego heads. These things are small, round, and just the right dimensions for shoving up your toddler’s nostril.

Just the other morning, I found two-year-old Little E methodically stuffing tiny leaves into her nose. My internal mummy-sirens went on full alert, screaming, ‘HELP! CALL THE AMBULANCE! CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE!’

I quickly switched into Professional Doctor Mode, maintaining a cool exterior in order to keep my toddler calm as I removed all the foliage from her face.

As I was chiding my young miscreant, the dear child gave me a look as if to say, “Mother, my face has holes in it which I must plug up, lest my brains dribble out.”

If your tot happens across this convenient hiding place for blueberries and corn, keep in mind that this is part of a toddler’s natural tendency to perform experiments on themselves. They aren’t doing it on purpose to make your life a misery!

Keep calm, count to ten, and try to follow these simple steps on how to help your child when something’s stuck in their nose:

–       If you can see the object, you can use flat tweezers (not sharp!) to gently withdraw it.

–       If your toddler is capable of blowing his nose, get him to shut his eyes and blow hard, whilst you block the other nostril.

–       Cover your child’s mouth with your own, making sure you have a good seal. Block her other nostril and then give one quick, hard breath into her mouth. Most kids will tolerate this ‘Mother’s Kiss’ treatment only once (it can be quite a surprise for them), so be sure that your child is completely calm and relaxed before you try this out.

–       Do not try to stick your finger or cotton swab right into the nasal passages. You might push the bean or tissue wad further up or even down the back of the throat into the lung.

–       Do not freak out or your little darling might try this stunt again just to see your reaction.

When to head for the doctor’s office:

–       If you are unable to see or remove the item yourself.

–       If you think you have only been able to remove part of whatever was lodged there.

–       If the stuck object is causing a nosebleed that has lasted more than 15-20 minutes.

–       If you have removed the stuff and your tot’s nose is still oozing blood or smelly gunk.

–       If you think that whatever is in there may contain chemicals (such as a watch battery) which could potentially burn the delicate nasal passages.

Preventing similar incidents:

Explain to your child that noses are needed for breathing and that blocking the nose is not a good idea. Until your child understands this concept, put tiny things out of reach, and keep a sharp eye on him when he’s outside (in case he tries to slip one under your nose!).


6 thoughts on “Who knows who’s in that nose? – First Aid for Anxious Parents

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