We try to keep small objects away from our toddler grandson. However, we still worry about him accidentally swallowing something. What should we do if this happens? R Shasidharan, Bangalore
Small, round objects without sharp edges may smoothly pass out of the stomach and intestines, but others may get stuck or obstruct and cause serious problems. If it does happen, never try to remove the object with your fingers because by doing so, you may push it further down. However, if it is right near the tip of the tongue, you may take it out. If the child starts vomiting or has choking with coughing, gagging, breathing difficulty or disturbed consciousness, rush him to the nearest hospital. Do not ask the child to stop coughing because the cough may, in fact, help in the expulsion of the foreign body.
Dr R K Anand, Paediatrician