March 12, 2009

When You Have a Chewer

When your children are babies you painstakingly go over your entire house to make sure it is baby proof so that your child will not choke on anything. (Okay, baby proof...enough) My children found every item I missed:

army men

With the exception of the army men--all were saved from being swallowed. And actually, make that an army man. (Think Toy Story--a two year old can easily swallow one of those suckers, did you know that?!)

Which brings me to the exception of children who are predispotioned to chew. These are the children that go into high school with mangled pencils and pen caps. The ones that sit in their third grade class chewing on the end of a wad of hair. They may chew their fingers, their shirt collars or random plastic items. You know what I either know/knew a person like this or are one.

Xander, my 7 year old, is a chewer. He has sensory integration disorder and Autism. This is where a quirky habit can become dangerous. Today he swallowed one of these:
This particular picture is from Oriental Trading. I don't know if the bouncy ball came from there or one of those .25 machines they have at grocery stores. I mention that only so the proper credit is given to the picture.

Now, a 7 year should know better, but when you have a child with special needs it is important to keep an eye on what they are chewing. It could be poisonous or dangerous. We are lucky that this ball did not become lodged in his throat cutting off his airway. When I realized he swallowed it and was talking and not struggling to breathe I knew the drill...and did not worry. Lessons I learned from the army man: they cannot detect plastic on an x-ray and they would tell us to bring him in only if his stmach became hard or he started having severe cramps. Otherwise, we would have to wait for it to pass. The doctor told me the army man could take up to two weeks because of its shape. The ball on the other hand could be freed in a matter of days.

I was reminded however to give Xan the "no batteries, no magnets" speech. These two things can kill a child. Make sure you have this talk with your children.

I am off to go find the thing Xan *is* allowed to chew on.


SavvySuzie said...

My 2 year old still has a thing for chewing - or sometimes just keeping things in the pocket of his cheek...I think it's just because he knows it drives me crazy. He had swallowed a decorative glass bead about 6 months ago...I didn't freak because he was breathing fine and all..but I worried about the paint that was on the bead (who knows what's in those things!) showed up a few days later, paint intact thank goodness!

Laane said...

I had a chewer too.

People complimented for my clean house,LOL!

Problem was that I couldn't even trust him with a button.
Every piece of clothing was with a zip and I had to tell visitors to watch their buttons.

Andrea said...

My son is sporadic with the chewing & he also grings his teeth. I think he does it when he starts to get stressed. It also seems to help him focus sometimes. We've started letting him have sugarless gum, but I like the gadget you linked to! Thanks for the tip!

Nikowa Lee {Quirky Mom} said...


Mia said...

Thanks for following me on Twitter. My son is a chewer. 6. Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Sensory Integration Disorder / Sensory Perception Disorder (whichever you prefer), ADHD and the list goes on.... He generally chews on his sleeves, fingers, pillows, socks and blankets...maybe a left over bedtime stuffed animal. And gum. I'm finally getting him to request that when he needs it rather than me constantly asking. We tried those "chew" things earlier in life. They just made him drool a lot.

Looking forward to more posts.

Melissa said...

Your son and mine....we could write a book together I bet! Seriously, our total is going up and up with what Kris swollows...because he is chewing on it. Such as a nickle, dime, watch battery, magnetic marbal, small transformer head. Those are the ones I know about! Be prepared though even a ball can take up to two weeks. It took Kris 10 days to mass the magnetic ball. Sensory autism isn't enough...So much fun! :-)

Stacie's Madness said...

oh my! I hope he is ok.

Enjoy Country Living said...

oh my that would be so scary. I hope he'll be alright. I also have a child with a disability down's syndrome but he is no child now he is going on 23 this april. Glad those days are behind me now. take care , and have a great day.
love the blog and pics by the way. : 0)