A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Is your child’s nose smelly? Check for a stuck object

Baby in a high chair eating peas - Object stuck in my child's nose

Whether it is a pea, bead or a crayon, having something stuck up your child’s nose is bound to happen, but what you do next is important.

Whether it is a pea, bead or a crayon, having something stuck up your child’s nose is bound to happen.

What you do after you find the object is important so this incident doesn’t turn into something serious.

“If you don’t see your child put the object in their nose, the object will often begin to smell,” said Dr. Victor Ejercito, a Marshfield Clinic ENT doctor. “A frequent bloody or runny nose could also be a sign.”

Stay calm, you have time

After you discover the object, make sure you and your child stay calm. Don’t alarm your child so they start sniffing or picking at it.

Ejercito said this situation usually is not serious and does not require immediate medical attention. You can instead setup a primary care visit within 24 hours.

“It can wait for a couple of hours,” Ejercito said. “I wouldn’t go rushing in during the middle of the night, but as a parent I know I wouldn’t want to try and sleep worrying about my child either.”

If your child’s nose is bleeding or if the object is a hazardous chemical, Ejercito recommends going to the emergency department as soon as possible.

Don’t mess with their nose

While it may look easy to get an object out of a nose, don’t try because you may end up pushing it in farther. You should especially stop your child from picking their nose.

“If they start playing around with it or moving it, you will end up with a child with a nose bleed or they could aspirate,” Ejercito said.

The nose has narrow parts that can stop objects from going too far into the nose, but the nose canal connects to the back of the throat. Pushing the object back could cause your child to choke.

What the doctor will do

Once you see a doctor, they first take a look up your child’s nose.

If your child is not cooperative, you may need to help hold your child still. As a last resort, general anesthesia may be used.

The doctor then removes the object and checks to make sure nothing else is in the nose.

“After I take one foreign body out, I check again. I have had more than enough instances where I have seen more than one foreign body in there,” said Ejercito.

Stay away from rounded objects

Ejercito has seen many items up a child’s nose like erasers, peas, corn, beads, Kleenex and paper.

The biggest concern is rounded objects. “Those rounded objects are a little bit more difficult to take out because they can move around,” Ejercito said.

For this reason, Ejercito recommends parents keep a close eye on their children while they eat or play with any small, rounded objects.

For more information about what to do if something goes up your child’s nose, talk with your child’s pediatrician.

For questions about your child, talk to a Marshfield Children’s provider.

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