The night my toddler stuck something up his nose

“My son stuffed Play Doh in his nose”

That is what I typed into Google last night. I believe I am not the only one who types my thoughts into Google when I have an issue with my son and I have no idea what to do, mothers you can feel me, right?


So last night, I was just putting my son to bed after a nice relaxing bath when I noticed a dark fluid running down his nose. The lights were dimmed so my first thought was blood. Nose bleeding? Not today Lord! I was in panic mode already so I rushed and turned on the lights only to see that the liquid is not red but purple. Okay purple, really? You must be kidding me! What has this boy been up to?

You see earlier he had been making all these funny expressions with his nose, sniffing and all. But I did not think much of it. If you know my son, you know he can make crazy facial expressions and it is never a big deal. So I just laughed it off and went on with life as normal.

Seeing purple running down his nose now meant I was up for some drama. I quickly looked into his nose and saw a purple lump-like thing stuck far up his nose. It was a bit far in so trying to pull it out by any means was not an option. A thousand thoughts ran through my mind at that moment and all I kept asking is “what do I do?” Usually, what I would do is simply take him to his father and ask him to deal with it, and then stick around to offer advice that I couldn’t use myself. Too bad his daddy was not around so I could not play that card here.

Am all alone now, and the boy just kept laughing at me every time I tried to look into his nose. It gave me some comfort though because it meant he is not in any pain. Except for the thought of the lump dropping into his lungs – that’s how I pictured it, I have no idea whether that is even possible – he was still safe. My hubby thought if it went in it would have just dropped into his tummy and come out through excretion (I never thought I would use this word after biology in high school 😀 )

I have never been to the hospital since we moved here, and the thought of me rushing my son to the Emergency Room (ER) was not exactly welcome though it did occur. What a first visit that would have been? Thank God I did not have to!

I know this is gross but I actually tried to suck it out with my mouth to no avail. If I had an alternative I promise you I would have used it, but at that moment I just needed to save my son’s life. That’s how it felt like I was trying to save his life. I still don’t know whether his life was in danger or not. But isn’t that how most problems that have anything to do with our children feel like? It’s like their life is always somehow in danger and you are the one charged with the responsibility of saving them.

So I just want to quickly let you know, some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means that at no extra cost to you I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Feel free to only buy what would be beneficial to you. Back to our story…

I tried the sucking thing a couple of times and of course, I failed. Then I decided it was time to ask a friend. Guess who? Drum rolls, please…

Dr. Google!

I tell you Google is a savior! I just typed in those words as they were in my mind, “my son stuffed Play-Doh in his…” Imagine my surprise when Google gave me suggestions and completed the sentence with ‘in his nose’. You mean somebody else has done this search before? So there are other parents who have had the same problem? I was actually a bit excited to be having some company in sorrow.

I did not want to get too excited before I find a solution, you can go to a forum online and realize everyone has the same question but no one has a solution. So I just hoped that someone somewhere would have a solution to our predicament and be kind enough to share online. God bless all the kind souls that share parenting hacks online. I was lucky, someone shared what had worked with their child who had also stuffed Play-Doh in their nose. Hold the unaffected nose and blow into his mouth and voila! The play dough will come flying out like a bullet. Every comment there under seemed to agree with this method so the only option left for me was to go do exactly that, blow into his mouth.

I was a bit skeptical about this working for me really. I have never had enough air or the skill required to blow out a balloon, how was I supposed to blow into my son’s mouth enough to make a lump of dough come flying out of my son’s nose? At this point I really missed my hubby, he is the one guy who would do this effortlessly but somehow this chose to happen on the day he is away. Or do we say he chose to be away, on the day this happened? Is okay, Is alright. Let’s do this.

I put my mouth on the prince and he burst out into laughter. My efforts of blowing were not yielding any fruits, zero! Tried like four times and then I decided, all these guys lied. I went back to the website see if anyone had commented in protest but no, everybody seemed to agree that that is the only thing that works besides going to the Emergency Room. And I wasn’t having the ER vibe at all.

There was one other comment though, the mum was consoling us that since Play-Doh isn’t toxic (I already knew that), the only thing that would probably happen is that it would dissolve slowly and flow out until it’s all out. So maybe you can wait for two or three days before going to the hospital. Did she just say two or three days? Maybe she was right but I don’t think I would be able to sleep for 2 days knowing that thing is still in his nose. What if he can’t breathe and I am asleep? What if it is a true emergency and I am just here downplaying it?

This is that point I call his dad and explain that I can’t get this thing out, tell him I have tried everything I know, I have read online and they have said this and that, I wish you were here blah blah blah. We both decided since it is not toxic, ER can wait a bit but I should watch him closely and keep trying the online solutions. I tried a couple of times and it still didn’t come out. The fluid was still coming out of his nose so I figured that was a good thing as it meant it is still dissolving and becoming smaller.

To cut the long story short, the little prince slept for about 2 hours and woke up for a snack (yeah, he sometimes does). At this point, I noticed his breathing had gotten a little worse. I think the lump dissolved until it fit perfectly in the nasal canal. I could be wrong but we will never know. At this point, I was getting really worried and I knew I just had to do something. My heart was pumping; it was now or never. I grabbed the poor sleepy boy and fully covered his mouth with mine, held his left nose and gave one huge blow with all the air in me and yes! That thing came flying out and my cheek was all covered in mucus. I have never been happier to have mucus all over my face.

I noted something the person that gave us the solution failed to mention, you do not just blow, you have to give it one hard blow. The blowing requires some technique, you don’t just blow like one blowing out a balloon, you blow like someone blowing off something, with force. It may also require a shocked child and a panicked parent. At least that is what it took for me to get it right.

Did I mention that all this time I was thinking that it was Play-Doh in my son’s nose? He had been playing with Play-Doh for most of the afternoon and so I naturally assumed that it was the one in his nose. Surprise, surprise, what came out of his nose was not Play-Doh. The poor boy had put a crayon into his nose. Thankfully it was a washable crayon and it dissolved just like Play-Doh. I will never know when or how the crayon got into his nose. One thing I know for sure is that he won’t be having those crayons for a while. I took away the Play-Doh too, I can’t risk another accident so soon after all that drama.crayon-in-child's-nose

I reckon that I was wrong to let him play with the Play-Doh and crayons unsupervised. It is always advised that you supervise your children when they are using crayons and Play-Doh. However, it was a good lesson for next time and one more hectic day in my life as a mother. On the positive side, now I can shed some light on another mother’s situation if her kid has something stuck up their nose.

To be honest, the washable crayons and the Play-Doh are both pretty awesome and he loves to play with them so I will not keep them away from him forever. But the next time he gets them back, I will definitely have a keen eye on him, as it should be. I just need to get over the trauma first :-).

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor; I am sharing my personal experience. If in doubt always consult a doctor and if you can’t get it out yourself, just go to the ER. Don’t take chances with your baby.

What experiences have you had that may help someone out here? Share some streaks of light with a mama in the comments.

Related article:my-experience-transitioning-from-being-a-working-mom-to-being-a-stay-at-home-mom

With love and light,

Debbie – Streaks of Light

11 thoughts on “The night my toddler stuck something up his nose”

  1. Edwin Kerosi

    Loving the writing here. Also learnt something!

  2. Lonah

    The interesting journey of parenthood when you have to put on several hats of being a parent, doctor, friend etc. Thank you for good piece.

    1. True, parenting is quite the journey. But the joy of seeing our babies grow into young men and women is worth it all. Thanks for reading through dear.

  3. Eng.Dominic Ndege nyabuto

    Thanks cuzo true story learning something from this long story very true I have learned something may come in hand one day

    1. Am really glad you were able to gain something. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Sebastian

    I don’t have kids myself however I do take care of my little nephew from time to time article points out to always be vigilant. Thanks nice read.

    1. I totally agree, Sebastian. With toddlers being vigilant is extremely important, though sometimes accidents still do happen. It is all part of the journey. I’m sure you do a great job with your nephew.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. You’re a hero! My daughter stuffed a bead up her nose and had to have it surgically removed!

    1. I am so sorry about your daughter Kim, I know how stressful that is. It is really good to know that other parents go through the same struggles that we face too so we are not alone. Thank God the kids are fine and they outgrow this stage.

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