Parenting Issues: My Child Swallowed A Quarter

Kids are kids, and kids will do stupid things. Ok, honestly? Adults do stupid things too, but at least kids have an excuse: they really may not know any better.

Last night, we had one of those heart-stopping moments. I had put all the kids to bed, and I was sitting on the couch listening to music and trying to catch up on posts.

All of a sudden, Jace comes flying out of his room, hands around his throat, hacking like he had a hairball. I ran to him, asked him what happened, and waited for a minute to make sure he was really ok. He could breathe, and he could talk, so I knew there wasn’t any immediate danger… no need to panic, call 911 or perform CPR. He told me that he had swallowed a quarter. {Jace is 7. I still can’t figure out what on earth possessed this child to even put a quarter in his mouth. But I digress…}

Then he went into a full-fledged panic attack. He kept crying that his chest hurt, and that he was going to die. Jace is emotional, but this was a new side I had never seen to him. He was truly convinced he was not going to survive having swallowed this quarter.

Of course hubby was still at work, and Ashley was off with her best friend and my best friend at a Chorus concert. That left me and 5 kids home, and I had to figure out how to get one of those kids to the hospital. I called my friend and asked how soon she would be home. In less than 5 minutes, her husband was at my house so that I could take Jace to the ER.

It was a VERY good thing I took him in. {Note to parents: If you’re not sure you should take your child in or not, DO IT.}

They did an x-ray right away, and it revealed that the quarter had gotten stuck at the sphincter at the end of the esophagus. They gave us 2 options: 1. Give Jace a medicine {shot} to open up the sphincter, or 2. Jam a tube down his throat and force the quarter on through. Obviously, we opted for choice #1.

They gave him a shot in the rear, and we waited. And waited. About 45 minutes later, they brought the x-ray machine into the room and did two more x-rays to determine if the quarter had passed through the sphincter. We waited and waited some more. And then we waited even longer.

Finally, the doctor came in the room and showed us the second set of x-rays. You could see that the quarter had passed through the sphincter and was in the stomach. He assured us that it should be smooth sailing from here on out. {And I say that literally.} He did say that there was a slight chance it could get stuck again in the intestine, so if Jace has any pain, we have to take him back to the ER. I am hoping and praying that this is the end of it, and in the next 24 – 48 hours, the quarter is gone from his system.

While the waiting was ridiculous, I am so glad I took him in. We could have had serious complications when he went to eat something if the quarter hadn’t gotten through the sphincter.

Kids are kids, and kids put all sorts of stuff in their mouth. I am quite certain that after tonight’s episode, Jace will be much more careful about where he puts his money. And from now on, I will be making sure any loose change is in the piggy bank – and not where someone could get to it!

Have you had a child swallow money? What was your experience?

Angie Vinez (2972 Posts)

Angie is a wife and mother to 8. Her life revolves around cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other household duties. She is passionate about her life in Christ and wants to encourage other mothers in their own walk of faith. Angie is active on many social media networks, loves technology, photography, and graphic design, and loves creating blog designs for other mom bloggers.

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  1. All’s well that ends well. I’m glad he’s okay! I haven’t had anyone swallow money, but you may recall when Alec inhaled a small piece of crayon into his lung when he was about 18 months old. That was fun. I was about 8 months pregnant with Kyle and had to take Alec to the ER. They had to knock him out and go fishing down his throat to get it out. Did I mention the tiny little piece of crayon was also RED? It took them at least an hour to get it out. He kept starting to wake up during the whole thing so they kept having to knock him out again, which resulted in an overnight stay so they could monitor him. Yeah, those recliner chairs at the hospital were not too comfy for a pregnant woman 6 weeks from her due date! We still have that stupid little piece of crayon in a medicine container. Not sure you’ll want to keep that quarter, though, LOL! Could make for a good show and tell, however πŸ˜‰

  2. My 6 year old swallowed a quarter at school last Friday. He ate fine all weekend. Had a bowel movement yesterday and …. no quarter. Today I took him to my work and they did an x-ray. The quarter is still in his stomach, not in his bowels. So I am a little worried it may not pass. I guess your son’s passed?

      • Yes, she is home and seems fine, thank you! I just wanted to come back on here and thank you for your entry. As I was waiting for the doctor’s office to call back, I came across your blog, read that your sons had gotten stuck and off we went to the hospital. God was awesome with timing on this one as our babysitter was already here for other reasons and was planning on staying until evening already anyway. Normally, it would have been complicated to have someone come and stay with our other children and at least both my husband and I were able to be at the hospital. They wanted to send us to surgery until I asked about the drug you mentioned and if it was an option for us. The primary doctor had initially wanted to try that route first as well, so our asking prompted it along. (They initially didn’t want to take the time as the anesthesiologist was there on campus at the time.) After several hours, hers made it into the stomach as well and we were allowed to go home. Now it’s the waiting game and follow up on Monday/Tuesday. Thanks again! πŸ™‚

        • I am so glad they were able to use the medicine for your daughter as well and that they didn’t just rush into surgery! I hope it comes out ok and that she doesn’t have any further complications. (Jace’s quarter passed in less than 48 hours with absolutely no complications whatsoever except a little extra pushing from his end.) Sorry for TMI, but you might want to know what to expect. πŸ˜‰ Good luck! And thank you so much for stopping by!

  3. Oh wow my daughter just did this l2 nights ago! I’m glad we’re not the only ones. It was stuck in her throat and she too thought she was going to die. She’s 7. I took her to the ER and they did an xray and it was stuck at her throat. They said they’d have to sedate her and remove it through her mouth in surgey. They stuck the IV in to prepare her for surgery. Then they didn’t have the machine that worked for kids just the adult one. What the heck?! Because kids don’t swallow things just adults so weird. So they were going to take us for a 2 hour ambulance ride to children’s mercy. Her and I walked to the restroom and she tells me she doesn’t feel it anymore. I asked them to take another X-ray and Thank God it fell. It’s now in her belly so we wait.

    How long did it take to pass? I think I’ll keep my daughter home from school and pump her full of probiotics, fiber and water.

      • My 7 yr old swallowed a quater tonight. The doctor on call diid not feel we needed to bring him in as my son could sip water and swallow a small piece of bread (that’s what doctor instructed to do first). After reading this blog I am worried that I did the wrong thing by not bringing him to the ED. Doc said he would prob pass it in 2 days. Also said that the quater could get stuck and require surgery…UGH!. If that happens I will remember to ask for the mediicine your son was given. KIDS!!

  4. My almost 7yr old daughter choked on a quarter last saturday, was not able to breathe. I stuck my finger down her throat trying to get her to throw up, when that didn’t work I gave her the heimlich, and she finally started throwing up. that turned the quarter upand down so she could breathe, but it was still stuck in her esophagus for almost 3hrs (dry heaving/throwing up that whole time). After 3hrs it finally moved to her belly. A week later she is still complaining of stomach pain, we got another xray this morning, and it shows the quarter is still in her stomach…waiting for the doctor to call back on a plan.

    • I’m a Casting Producer with and we are currently casting a new web series pilot show about kids that have swallowed unusual items and have the ER x-ray to prove it! I came across a blog post where you talked about the quarter your daughter swallowed. We are casting NOW and I would love to hear from you.

      The show we are casting is a web-based series and this is the initial pilot episode. There would be a small monetary compensation for participating if you are selected to be on the pilot. I would set up a Skype interview between my Casting Director and your family to tell your story. All of our casting interviews are conducted via Skype so you don’t have to go anywhere. We would want for you to have a copy of the x-ray and/or object that was removed from your child as a visual. Our casting window is small – this week only. The interview would take 45-60 minutes tops. So if you all are interested I would need to know as soon as possible to squeeze your family in with my Casting Director.

      If interested, please contact me asap via email or phone.


      Lauren Groom
      Casting Producer
      816.471.6554 /

    • My son did this. It has been a week because our pediatrician wanted to wait to see if it would pass. I’m worried the stomach acid will corrode the quarter this hurting his digestive system. Did your child have any ill effects from it staying in stimach so long?

  5. My baby is 1yr and 9 months he swallowed a coin last night we took him in to th ER and they took X-rays. What the doctor said was that they didn’t find any coin anywhere in his system. I was a little upset because every time we go they say he doesn’t have anything. My husband stuck his fingure through his throat and felt the quarter when he was shocking. When we got home I showed him a quarter and i asked him did you swallow this he pointed to the quarter and he then grabbed his stomach. I’m sure he did swallow the quarter but I don’t know what to do! He doesn’t speak! πŸ™

    • When he woke up he got up and he finally throw out the quarter. I’m feeling
      I’m just glad he throw it up!!

  6. My 10 (that’s right T-E-N) y.o. Daughter swallowed a quarter on Thursday. She eats. She poops. No pain. But nothing has come out the other end yet. She is sooo nervous, so am I. But I try to make her relax so hopefully she will just go. I also tried to convince her that maybe two dimes and a nickel will come out, but she isn’t buying it.
    How long is too long to wait for it to pass?

    • Hi, Wendy! I’m so sorry to hear that your daughter did the same thing. Kids are crazy sometimes! If she still hasn’t passed the quarter by tomorrow morning, I would put in a call to the pediatrician and see what they think. They may want her to have an Xray just to be safe. Please keep me posted and let me know what happens!

  7. My 7 year old swallowed a quarter on the 22nd of October. After 8 x-rays so far the quarter is still there. She started eating and going less. We have used two kinds of stool softener per Dr due to the quarter blocking her up and it still resides in her stomach as the 8th x-ray shows today. I am hopping I will hear other alternatives with the Dr’s phone call tomorrow.

    • I noticed I did not update, we drove 4 hours to a hospital to have the quarter removed after nothing helped it to even attempt to enter the intestine for 5 weeks (stayed in the tummy). We spent the night and went in for surgery the next morning. They took a couple more x-rays and low and behold it was gone, we had had x-rays done the day before so it had to of sailed right through from the time she went to bed the day of the scheduling to the day we went. 280.00 travel dollars latter we are quarter free, with with a crap load of x-rays for future memory.

  8. I’m so glad I found this blog. My 3 year old swallowed a quarter last Thursday i took him to ER after an X-ray the coin was in his stomach after two hours. I was told he should poop it out btw 2-7 days. It has been seven days and nothing. I have been checking his poop every time. I don’t know if I should wait or go have another X-ray done. He seems fine. He is playing eating and pooping normal. Any suggestions?
    Thank you in advance

  9. I have a 4yr old that swallowed a nickle. I asked her when which was last Saturday ( which was the day she described) I had her to the urgent care this past Thursday and in the xray it showed it still in her stomach. Tomorrow I take her to her dr. to have a follow up and then another possible xray. She is eating, playing and moving her bowels fine. I’ve been a complete wreck over this whole deal. How long does it take to leave the stomach. Has anyone had this happen – what was the longest it took to pass. I’m just emotional and I feel like, this is consuming my life. Anyone have any past experiences like mine. I need words of comfort.

  10. Sitting in the ER as my 6 year old daughter just swallowed 2 quarters. Yes 2!!! I was able to get the third one out. Waiting to see what the doctor wants to do. She thought it was cool to see them in her on an x-ray. Thinking a long night in the ER so probably no school tomorrow. She is sleeping now and so happy she can breath.

  11. My 7 year old swallowed a quarter two days ago and came running to me screaming and crying. He too thought he was dying. Well my husband forced him to puke but nothing came up. My brother who is a firefighter ran down to my house to check him too. He was talking and then puked without being forced to do so and then said he felt fine. Well I started googling and ran across this post which made me feel like I needed to take him in. Once they did X-rays you could see the quarter was stuck in his esophagus. The hospital we were transferred him by ambulance to a children’s hospital about an hour away. We got there at 1:30 AM and at 6am they done another xray to see if it had moved which it hadn’t. They put him to sleep and went down through his throat and got it out. The Dr said it was stuck stuck, but thankfully they got it out without any complications!! This was by far one of the scariest moments for him and me. So yes if they swallow something then most definitely take them in, even if they are talking and breathing just fine. Had my son ate something after this happen then it would have caused him to possibly choke and not able to breathe.

  12. My 3 year old son also swallowed a quarter 5 nights ago. The night it happened my husband took him to urgent care and they took an x-ray and it had safely passed to his stomach with in those two hours. The doctor there advised it can pass with in 2-7 days. My son is feeling fine as he is playing, eating, and pooping regularly. We check his stool each time and it still hasn’t passed. My husband and I are just wondering how much longer we should wait to see his doctor if it doesn’t pass by the 7th day?

    • It took 10 days for my 3 year old to poop his coin out. We all (including the doctors who took an X-ray)thought it was a quarter but it turned out it was a nickel. Still very scary. However on the seventh day I did take him for a check up with his regular doctor and got an X-ray referral if I don’t see the coin out within two weeks. I hated for him to get another X-ray so I waited. It was very long ten days though.
      Good luck! Hopefully He will pass it sooner than later. Lots of fluid and soft food.
      Anna recently posted..#Ad: #SuperWubble Bubble Ball #Review & #Giveaway

      • Thanks Anna! We had another x-Ray done a couple days ago and to their surprise, the quarter was still in his belly in the same spot it was 12 days prior when he swallowed it. The doc thinks it it stuck in one of the crevices of his stomach. So now we need to see a GI specialist to see how it can be removed. I pray it becomes dislodged and passes before invasive treatment needs to be done. It has now been 15 days and still no quarter!!! Just thankful my son is not having any problems!
        Carisa recently posted..#Ad: #SuperWubble Bubble Ball #Review & #Giveaway

  13. wow! That is scary … My friend who is a surgeon in the local ER told me not to worry too much, as long as the object is not sharp or a battery the kid should be ok; however keep close eye on him to make sure he doesn’t develop fever or pain in his stomach. If so take him to ER. I hope it will pass through. Good luck and keep me posted. We will keep him in our prayers. I really hope he won’t have to go through invasive treatment. On the happy note this incident thought my son a lesson and he stopped putting things in his mouth. Good luck!!!
    Anna recently posted..#Ad: #SuperWubble Bubble Ball #Review & #Giveaway

  14. My 7y/o just swallowed a quarter this weekend. They never offered any other option but removal via endoscopy since it was stuck in her esophagus above the stomach. It was causing pain too. After reading everyone’s comments about the stress of waiting for it to be passed, dry heaving and throwing up, and thoughts of bowel problems, I’m so glad we opted to have it removed right away. It’s so scary and stressful, I’m glad it’s over!

  15. My 3 year son swallowed a quarter that took him 2 months to pass. I thought he already had passed it, but I was wrong. Looking back, I should have kept taking him back to the doctor to ensure the quarter had passed.

  16. My daughter who is 6 swallowed a quarter last night about 8:58 at first i thought maybe she was fibbing cause she does that alot and i wasent trying to be mean but i was like if u swallowed a coin wouldnt u be choking thats what was going through my mind because i have 4 children and this has never happen but as soon as she starting freaken out crying i knew it was serious she really did so i didnt want to take any chances and called 911 i got scared and freaked out but after a moment i calmed myself and my daughter seemed to calm down also i knew she could breath as she was talking to me and moving around they came and said she seems to be ok it must of passed but take her to the hospital just in case so. I did and its in her tummy im hoping it passes soon her troat hurts though she woke up in the middle of the night saying mom my troat hurts i was wondering what can help take some of the irritation away i think it did get stuck for a moment cause she did complain about her chest hurting while ems was here but it went away so i can imagine her throat is probley sore. Im just thanking god it went straight through and didnt get stuck in her throat that was one of the biggest scares ive had..