MESA, AZ — A Valley mom wants other parents to use her close call as a reminder to seek help if your child swallows a small object.
Kathryn Arenhart, who lives in Mesa, says on Wednesday afternoon, her nine-month-old son Lucas swallowed a penny.
"Sure enough when I went to try and scoop something out of his mouth, I could feel it, I saw it, and then as he threw his head back it just kind of went down in there," she said.
Arenhart told ABC15 she was conflicted on what to do next since Lucas seemed fine after momentary discomfort.
"Part of me was like, is it really an emergency?" she said. "Will he pass it? Is it going to block anything?"
Arenhart looked online and, after finding conflicting advice, she ultimately decided to take her son to urgent care, where Lucas underwent an X-Ray.
"The penny was just lit up right there in his esophagus," she said.
The next stop was the hospital, where Arenhart says doctors told her the situation could have grown worse if she hadn't sought help.
"The metal was eroding the inner lining of his esophagus," she said. "Just in that timeframe, the doctor could see that it had already started to erode his esophagus."
The penny was removed, and Arenhart says her son is doing well. However, she wants other parents to heed her advice.
"Even if your child is acting fine after you know that they've swallowed something, bring them in and get them checked out," she said.
Banner Health offers the following general information when it comes to young children who swallow coins:
What to do when your child swallows a coin:
The first thing to do when your child swallows a coin is to observe if it has caused your child to choke. When a coin is swallowed, it can move one of two ways. The first is through the airway, the breathing tube, and the second is through the esophagus, the feeding tube.
If your child has swallowed a coin and is showing symptoms of difficulty breathing, salivating, coughing, gagging or if they are unconscious, call 911 and take your child to the emergency room.
If your child swallows a coin and is not experiencing the above symptoms, it most likely means it has entered the esophagus, the feeding tube. An urgent care facility can conduct an X-Ray and show precisely where the coin is located. It is important not to put your fingers in your child's mouth to pull the coin out because it could be further lodged into their esophagus. Also, do not induce vomiting or administer a laxative.
If the X-Ray shows that the coin has moved through the esophagus, your child can eat normally, and you can monitor your child's stool to see if the coin has passed.