Accidental ingestions are common as children often use their mouths to explore objects.
Each year, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (1-800-222-1222) receives tens of thousands of phone calls from parents worried about children swallowing non-food items. If you witnessed the ingestion, know that it was a dime, and the child is behaving completely normally, there is no need to panic. The dime will likely pass on its own through the digestive tract in 1-3 days.
To be sure, you can ask your pediatrician for an X-ray to locate the dime. A dime in the stomach will likely pass easily. A dime that remains in the esophagus will need to be removed as it can cause damage and poses a risk to the windpipe. If the child is drooling, uncomfortable, vomiting, or having any respiratory distress, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Reviewed by Dr. Eva Benmeleh, September 2020