This comes up often enough that I have to blog about it: how do you get an object out of a child’s nose?
The reason this keeps coming up is no one seems to know what to do when it inevitably happens. Now as a reasonable, sane adult, you’re thinking to yourself, “Why on earth would I take an ordinary household item, like a cheerio, and shove it up my nose?” In response, I would have to say there are children out there who would stare in disbelief that you should even ask such a question. In their world, the question is, “Why not?”
When Kiddo#1 was a preschooler, we planted a little garden (by which I mean, nothing grew) and there were some leftover seeds. Among other things we’d planted peas, since they’re not hard to grow (see above) and because the packets had more seeds than we needed, the leftovers remained in packets on the counter.
My son came to me at some point and gave me to understand what we had planted in the garden was insufficient for his purposes, so he’d planted one by pushing it up his nose. I got a flashlight and there it was.
I’m not terribly smart, but even I knew that going in there with my tweezers would push it further. I was about to call the doctor (and get sent to the emergency room) when I remembered out insurance carrier had a nurse hotline. I called that first.
The nurse assessed the situation, then said, “There’s something to try before going to the emergency room. Sit him on a chair, and kneel beneath him. Pinch the opposite nostril shut (in other words, not the one with the obstruction) and blow into your son’s open mouth.”
I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s never going to work!”
Nurse: It’ll work.
Me: There’s no way.
Nurse: Just try it. It’ll work.
Me: You promise?
Nurse: Just go ahead and do it.
Me: Hold on.
I set aside the phone, positioned my son, pinched the opposite non-pea-planted nostril shut, and blew really hard into his mouth.
The pea shot out of his nostril.
I grabbed the phone. “It worked!”
The nurse exclaimed, “It DID?”
I gasped. “You made me do that and you didn’t even think it would work?”
She said, “That’s what came up on the computer, and I had to read it to you.”
Feeling like an idiot, and at the same time glad I didn’t have to wait around in the ER, I said, “I guess in the hospital they’d have a machine that would have puffed in a measured amount of atmospheric pressure, huh?”
“No,” she said. “They’d have used a tweezers.”
And there you have it, folks: a blow-by-blow description of how to remove an object from your child’s nose. May you never have to use this information, but if you do, you’ll be glad. Really.