There's What in His Nose?!
Curious kids love to put things in their noses! What are the biggest culprits? Here are the top 10 things kids tend to stick up their nostrils. Keep an eye out for these items!
One minute he’s coloring, the next he’s crying. Imagine the shock on one teenage babysitter’s face when she realized what caused the dried blood on her 2-year-old charge’s nose: He had stashed in his schnoz a broken piece of a yellow crayon.
Tip: Blowing gently out one nostril and being carefully prodded with a tweezer proved useless for this little boy, so off to the emergency room he went. Having a “foreign body” (anything unnatural) stuck in an orifice may lead to irritation and infection, warns the National Institutes of Health. Doctors and ear-nose-throat specialists typically treat more severe cases with drainage or suction.
Stringing necklaces can be a great afternoon activity, but some kids take crafts too far. Dr. Jana learned this the hard way. At age five, her son approached her with a guilty look: “Um, Mom … I accidentally got a bead stuck up my nose.”
Tip: Even though Dr. Jana had warned her son about the painful practice of getting things stuck up one’s nose, and at age five he was “old enough to know better,” his curiosity bested him. Luckily, she pressed lightly on the non-plugged side of his nose, had him blow gently out the other nostril, and out flew the bead—a common cure and often the best first attempt when facing this issue. If this method fails, call your doctor, suggests the National Institutes of Health.
Beside a burger is where fries typically sit, but one four-year-old girl had other plans for her potatoes. Dr. Jana laughs recalling the mother’s frantic and embarrassed phone call. “It was by far the most amusing item I’ve heard of,” Dr. Jana says—and that’s in more than 10 years of being a practicing pediatrician.
Tip: Greasy fast food can easily slide right up the nasal canal. In this case, a pediatrician was able to carefully extract the fry in the office. However, the inside lining of the nose is fairly sensitive, so doctors sometimes use sedatives or special “tools,” Dr. Jana says. Be wise: Next time you buy your kid a Happy Meal, keep both eyes on the fries.
Who hasn’t seen a baby (or an adult, sadly) stick a finger up his nose? Especially when children have cold, flu, or allergy symptoms, runny noses are bound for upward exploration, Dr. Jana says.
Tip: While it’s not the most socially accepted behavior, Dr. Jana assures that nose picking is a natural reflex. Children learn by exploring and playing, she explains. While incidents are most common between ages one through five, high-energy older kids up through college frat guys often fall prey to nose antics.
It’s all fun and games until someone loses a marble in her nose. But don’t let it cause you to lose your marbles, too. You’re not alone: Curious kids often poke these beautifully colorful spheres up their shnozzes, says Dr. Jana.
Tip: Round, hard objects like marbles are often the culprit of chaos, she says. Depending on how far up the sphere is lodged, the solution for removing it may vary in intensity. If it won’t come out through gentle nose blowing, consult your physician.
Laughing hard while eating spaghetti may make noodles shoot out your nose, but pushing pasta up there yourself may make it stay there. Slippery, saucy noodles frequently nose their way up kids’ nasal canals, Dr. Jana says.
Tip: Although softer, mushier items may seem slightly less uncomfortable to have stuck in one’s nose, they actually can be more difficult to remove. Tweezers and other medical tools have trouble gripping onto slippery substances, Dr. Jana notes, so it may take longer to remove.
Training your kid to use a tissue for a runny nose may give you surprising results. Wadded and wet pieces of tissue can easily cram up your kid’s nasal cavity, clinging to the inside of his nose.
Tip: Since tissues are meant to be near noses, it’s an easily missed accident, Dr. Jana says. Three to five days may pass before parents realize anything is wrong. One key sign to notice is an awful smell caused by bacteria growing in the nose. Similar to spaghetti, this soft substance can easily separate when you or a doctor tries to extract it, so it may take longer to remove.
A common finger food to serve your young’un, Cheerios tend to casually creep up noses. In fact, any small, round food particles can easily move from highchair to nostril.
Tip: Although the rough surface of Cheerios can cause discomfort or irritation, Dr. Jana says, rest assured that this common problem can be easily cured. Once the culprit is removed, your child and Cheerios can continue their happy relationship!
Little toys (like Legos) and small toy parts (like screws) are tempting items to travel up the nose. After all, it’s easy for playtime to get a bit wild!
Tip: Before buying toys and games for your child, pay attention to the age recommendations, small parts included, and any product recalls you see in the news, Dr. Jana advises. Even if small toys and parts don’t end up in the nose, they can create choking hazards. (Click here to see recently recalled toys and household items.)
Beans and Peas
Feeding your little guy can be messy. Since half the food falls on the floor, it’s easy to assume the other half makes it into the mouth. Not necessarily.
Cooked beans or peas for dinner (or raw ones for crafts) often become prime objects for pushing up one’s nose.
Tip: Don’t get distracted during dinner time. Losing focus can be easy (“Did I leave the veggies in the microwave again?”), so make sure someone is paying close attention to your tyke during meals.
Avoiding Nose Invaders
1. Talk to your little one before anything happens. Don’t worry: Your warning won’t “inspire” an incident if you choose your words carefully. Dr. Jana suggests launching with, “Boy can it hurt if…” (We are already thinking “Ouch!”). Remember that babies don’t use the same logic as adults, so be forgiving for repeat offenses.
2. Study the objects that surround your baby, from toys with small parts to slippery black beans for dinner. Do you need to avoid Cheerios at all costs? Probably not. Just be extra aware when your child’s munching away.
3. Relax if an incident happens. Depending on the object lodged in your little one’s nose, the solution and intensity may vary. But once the item is removed, most kids’ discomfort decreases, Dr. Jana says.
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