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A mom is warning parents about the dangers of AirPods for kids after her 7-year-old son accidentally swallowed one of his earbuds. Kiara Stroud recently shared on Facebook that her son QJ had an AirPod in his mouth, choked on it, and ended up accidentally swallowing it. He was rushed to the hospital and X-rays showed that the AirPod was in his stomach.
“I can’t make this up. My child, my child,” Stroud wrote alongside the X-ray. “No more AirPods for this kid.”
Stroud revealed in another post that she and QJ’s dad “didn’t yell at him, didn’t curse, didn’t ask why, didn’t tell him he was too old, didn’t shame him, and didn’t make the situation worse.” Stroud said her son “already felt bad” and was “scared and nervous.”
Stroud later told Atlanta’s WSB-TV that her son swallowed the AirPod after he was holding the long part of the earbud in his mouth. The AirPods (which were a Christmas present) were paired with his phone at the time. “He’s like, ‘I don’t want to be near my phone. I don’t want it to connect to my phone and start playing music,’” Stroud said.
Doctors told her that the earbud would pass through QJ’s stool in a few days and that he should be fine. Now, Stroud said, she plans to only give QJ old-fashioned headsets until he’s older.
What should you do if this happens to you?
First, stay calm—but you do want to take your child to the ER. Once you see a doctor, they’ll usually try to make sure your child is breathing okay (given that they could have actually breathed in an object instead of swallowed it), says Mark Conroy, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Your doctor might also recommend that your child get an X-ray to see where the object is. “You want to figure out if an object is stuck in the esophagus. It’s more of an urgent matter than if it made it to the stomach,” Dr. Conroy says. If the object is stuck in the esophagus, your child might need an endoscopy, where a doctor will put a tube down your child’s throat to try to retrieve the object or push it down.
How much of an emergency this is also depends on what your child swallowed as well, says Gina Posner, M.D., board certified pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif. “Things like button batteries or magnets are real emergencies,” she says. “They need to be taken out surgically.” Button batteries can erode the esophagus and intestinal lining, which is “super dangerous,” Dr. Posner says. Magnets can also stick together and clamp together parts of the body, which also is dangerous, she says.
But Dr. Posner says that objects like AirPods and coins aren’t as scary, provided they’re not stuck in the esophagus. “With things like that, a lot of times we’ll just wait and see how they’re doing,” she says. “If they’re not having trouble breathing or massive vomiting, the objects will usually just pass through and come out in poop without any issues.”
Overall, when it comes to children and small objects, Dr. Posner urges caution. “Kids love swallowing things,” she says.
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