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City's children bite off more than they can chew, doctors say
Miriam Bulwar David-Hay (Translated)
05/11/2008
According to Health Ministry, in 2007 seven children died after swallowing or breathing in foreign objects.
Thousands of children are hospitalized in Israel every year after swallowing or inhaling foreign objects, according to Health Ministry figures reported in the Hebrew weekly Yediot Haifa. And in 2007 seven children died after swallowing or breathing in foreign objects, the ministry found. According to the report, some 2,000 children, mostly aged from six months to four years, were brought to Haifa's Rambam and Bnai Zion hospitals alone in 2007 on suspicion of having swallowed or inhaled foreign objects. About 250 of those children were hospitalized in Rambam and 103 in Bnai Zion. A Bnai Zion doctor said that about 20 percent of children brought to the hospital on suspicion of having swallowed a foreign object last year were actually admitted, and some had to undergo invasive tests or procedures. These include a bronchoscopy, in which a camera is lowered via the throat into the lungs, and a gastroscopy, in which a camera is inserted into the stomach (again via the throat) and pulls out any object too large to digest. The doctor said that young children just beginning to discover the world often place objects in their mouths, noses or ears, and that even if swallowed many items can be excreted without any damage being done. But she said that sometimes objects are too large or are made of harmful substances that can damage the digestive system, and in these cases children should be taken to a doctor immediately. The doctor said parents should ensure that young children do not eat while walking or running, should check that small children chew their food properly, should watch what their young children are picking up and putting in their mouths, and should keep small and poisonous or caustic objects away from them. Another doctor said that if a young child was choking, parents should immediately tap them on the back or put pressure on the upper stomach to help the child expel the object.
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