What to do when a Child Puts Something up Their Nose

Child picking nose

Part of growing up is playful experimentation. Much to a parent’s annoyance, this includes putting things where they don’t belong. Toys down the toilet, sweets in the CD player, and all manner of weird stuff in the washing machine. These little experiments are annoying, sometimes costly, but not dangerous. Then comes the time when a child shoves something up their nose. Why they do this remains one of the unanswered mysteries of life.

Of course, a nostril is not the only bodily orifice into which stray foreign objects disappear. Ears are another favourite target, and the general advice is to take your child to receive medical attention and have the foreign object removed. But for something stuck up the nose, there is a little first aid trick you can put into practice.

Block, Blow, Breathe easy!

With any luck, the discomfort caused by getting something stuck in one nostril will stop your child from blocking the other. All the breathing tubes and entry and exit points are connected, and the ‘block, blow, breathe easy’ method, while seeming a little unorthodox, usually works a treat. Here’s how it works:

  • Block the clear nostril with you finger
  • Place your mouth over your child’s mouth
  • Blow

Your child’s eyes will probably bulge with surprise, but nine times out of ten the foreign body will fly out of its hiding place.

The last thing to do with this method is to sit your child down and impress upon them how dangerous it is to put anything near noses, ears, eyes and backsides.

While the above method is tried and tested, if you’re anxious about using it or the object is buried deep in the nose or an ear (or elsewhere) then a visit to an emergency department will be needed. Trying to remove a misplaced foreign object could push it further in, causing more damage. Leaving it there will lead to infection. The final word is, of course, remove the foreign body or have it removed.