Contributors: Yasira Sonnier and Dr. Emran from Simple Health Radio

On this episode of Simple Health Radio, Dr. Emran recalls a case of a 5-year-old boy named “Michael” who swallowed a coin.

Coins are one of the most common foreign objects swallowed by children of different age groups. Because coins come in different sizes, some can become stuck in the trachea or esophagus. Coins that become stuck in the trachea are life-threatening and can lead to death immediately.

However, coins that are in the esophagus generally make it to the stomach are typically not as serious. A simple x-ray in the ER will confirm the

As common as it might seem, parents often ask, what’s next?

When a coin is swallowed, it travels down the esophagus, which is the narrowest part of the digestive tract and makes its way to the stomach. The average time for passing a coin is 24 to 72 hours. Most children will have cramping, bleeding in the stool, or stool incontinence.

Although most swallowed coins go to the intestine and are passed in the stool, some coins get stuck along the way. If there are any symptoms that are worsening such as severe pain, fever, or any unusual symptoms, go to ER.

It’s important to monitor signs and symptoms such as:

・Abdominal pain

・Chest pain

・Salvia continuously falling from the mouth


・Shortness of breath

・Blood in stool

・Loses consciousness


Should any of these symptoms arise, go to the nearest emergency room.

If your child is doing well and is not in immediate danger, the general advice is to eat regular meals to help promote digestion. The coin will then exit the body through the stool.

If the object appears to be stuck or causes a complication, a Gastroenterologist also known as a GI doctor will need to be involved.



Once the coin passes, it will not look like a coin anymore. Often, it will be black, melted, or broken into pieces due to the stomach and intestinal acids.


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If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. Dr. Emran and Simple Health Radio do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, consults, or any other information that may be mentioned on this website or radio podcast.

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