October 25, 2020

Is Something Stuck in Your Child’s Nose? Try a ‘Mother’s Kiss’

How you can help your child — and when to see a doctor

something in child's nose

There goes your little one again, darting across the room to grab something they spotted on the floor. Inquisitive and fearless, children love to experiment. If they find a coin on the floor, it’s just as likely to go in their nose as in their piggy bank.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Foreign bodies stuck in the nose are a common occurrence in children ages 2 to 5 — and sometimes even for children as old as 7 or 8.

“Kids are more likely to put small things like beads or popcorn kernels in their noses, but I see a whole variety of things, too,” says pediatric emergency medicine specialist Purva Grover, MD.

Dr. Grover provides some insight on what you need to know if your child lodges something in their little nostril.

What are the signs of trouble?

Parents typically know when their child has put something in their nose. You’ll often see them contemplating the act from across the room, and as soon as you get to your little one, the object gets crammed into their nose.

But sometimes doctors find foreign objects during a routine office exam.

“This happens more often with older children who don’t want to get in trouble or those with developmental delays who can’t tell a parent what happened,” says Dr. Grover.

Advertisement

If you don’t see your child put anything in their nose, but you think there might be a problem, watch for these signs:

  • A foul-smelling odor coming from just one side of the nose.
  • Symptoms similar to a sinus infection, like high fever or dark green mucus coming from the nose.

If there is something stuck in your child’s nostril, it’s important to act quickly — either try to remove it or take your child to the doctor right away.

“If you wait, an infection can develop,” she warns. “In rare cases, especially if it’s left in the nose overnight, the object can get sucked into the airway and possibly cause choking.”

Try a ‘mother’s kiss’ for removal

Most foreign objects in the nose won’t come out unless a parent or doctor removes them — especially for small children, who aren’t very good at blowing their noses.

There are two important things to remember if this happens to your child:

1. Try once, then get help

Make only one attempt to remove the object on your own, unless you believe the situation is life-threatening. The more times you try, the less cooperative your child will be when the doctor tries to remove it. This increases the likelihood of needing an operation to remove the object.

Advertisement

2. ‘Mother’s kiss’ method

If you do try to handle the situation at home, use the “mother’s kiss” method, which works best for small, hard objects like beads. Follow these steps for the kiss method:

  • Place your mouth over your child’s mouth.
  • Hold the nostril that isn’t blocked closed with a finger.
  • Blow gently into your child’s mouth.

You can use this process to remove hard objects without a doctor’s help. One study found that a mother’s kiss was a safe and effective technique for removing foreign objects from the nose and in some cases, it can prevent the need for general anesthesia.

Using this gentle pressure to force the object out is successful about 60% of the time, but a doctor typically will need to remove softer objects made of foam or tissue.

Lastly, look for other objects

“Putting foreign objects in the nose is a habitual thing,” says Dr. Grover. “This means that if your child has put something in their nose, then they’re likely to have also tried putting something somewhere else, like maybe in an ear, too.”

So if you find one stuck object, don’t forget to look for more. While it’s almost impossible to keep every small item away from your child’s little hands, knowing how to proceed in case something does get lodged in their nose can save you some worry.

Related Articles

Toddler caught mid blink while laughing.
December 12, 2022
Why Is My Toddler Blinking a Lot?

From allergies to anxiety, excessive blinking usually isn’t a concern

Two adults cooking dinner with a child
November 17, 2021
How to Focus on Your Teen’s Health, Not Weight

Parents must intervene, in a productive way

Adult talking to child about vaccines on porch steps
July 27, 2021
How to Talk to Your Kids About Getting Vaccinated

Helping children, tweens and teens prepare for their turn at the COVID-19 vaccine

pediatrician playing with child at doctors office
April 26, 2021
How to Pick the Best Pediatrician for Your Child

Here’s what to consider when it’s time to choose your child’s doctor

young girl playing with her stuffed animal
March 28, 2021
Is It OK to Have an Imaginary Friend?

Learn how to handle your child’s make-believe pals

Father reading book with daughter
December 29, 2020
How to Use Rewards to Motivate Kids

Motivate your kids with the right kind of praise and rewards

hives on face of child
November 18, 2020
5 Rashes Your Child May Bring Home From Preschool

Get expert tips on prevention and treatment

Teen studies at student desk
September 15, 2020
A Chiropractor’s Tips for Setting Up a Comfortable Virtual Learning Workspace for Kids

Movement is also an important part of their school day

Trending Topics

glass of cherry juice with cherries on table
Sleepy Girl Mocktail: What’s in It and Does It Really Make You Sleep Better?

This social media sleep hack with tart cherry juice and magnesium could be worth a try

Exercise and diet over three months is hard to accomplish.
Everything You Need To Know About the 75 Hard Challenge

Following five critical rules daily for 75 days may not be sustainable

Person in foreground standing in front of many presents with person in background holding gift bags.
What Is Love Bombing?

This form of psychological and emotional abuse is often disguised as excessive flattery

Ad