Pediatric Foreign Body (Esophageal)

Pediatric Foreign Body (Esophageal)



Esophageal foreign bodies occur when a child swallows a foreign object such as a coin or button, or food gets stuck in the throat, like a grape or round hot dog piece. 

Expanded overview

Esophageal foreign bodies occur when a child swallows an object such as a button or coin. It can also occur if the child hasn’t properly chewed their food before swallowing and it gets caught in the esophagus. Esophageal foreign bodies can require medical intervention to retrieve the object from the child’s esophagus. Children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years old are the most likely to swallow a foreign body.


Some of the most commonly ingested foreign bodies include:

  • Button batteries
  • Coins
  • Magnets
  • Marbles
  • Toy parts


Children who swallow a foreign object typically show the following symptoms:

  • Choking
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Pain in specific area
  • Vomiting 
  • Wheezing

If a child has swallowed a foreign object and is struggling to breathe or not breathing, get medical help immediately.

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