What to do when your child sticks something up her nose

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Last night while the wee tot was eating, something seemed to really catch her attention. I was trying to do the dishes, so hadn’t been using my mommy-observational skills, but just knew. I peaked around the corner and saw that she had stopped eating and was doing something pretty special with her finger in connection with her nose. Yeah, she’s really into picking her nose right now (and, yes, tasting it- eeeeeeuwwwww), so figured she was just exploring.

But, then, a couple of minutes later, she was still doing the same thing and was making a weird noise. I figured it was time to stop with the dishes and find out what was really going on.

I checked her out, pulled her finger out of her nose, and asked her what was up. The problem is the wee tot can’t talk yet, so her answer was, “noooes.” I translated her nnnning to be about her nose and took a look.

Yup. She had a bit of carrot bit stuck up her nose.


I decided NOT to panic, I mean, kids shove stuff up their noses all the time, right? I remember while I was teaching preschool we had one little guy that put everything up his nose – peas, beads, halved grapes… But, he was old enough to reason with, so I could usually convince him to blow his nose, dislodging the wonderous item.

No such option here.

I got out the trusty flashlight, gently laid her down and investigated closer. In the process, the babe fell in love with the flashlight – which was a GREAT distraction – and I got out the tweezers. I carefully got in position and, amazingly, dislodged the bit! Then, the minute the wee tot figured out what was going on, she totally freaked out, took a deep breath to scream, and sucked that piece of carrot right back up her nose.

By this point, the husband wasn’t so excited about how things were going. So, I figured a nice warm bath would calm the babe down, and get her out of the hubs’ hair. I also had visions of getting the babe to suck some water up her nose, which might pop that carrot out. I filled the bath, got the daughter in the tub and kept her covered with water. Yeah, I might have encouraged some face-in-water kicking and playing to encourage some water up in that nose, but, no such luck.

While I was drying the wee tot off I had a flash of brilliance! The big bulb syringe! I got it out and after getting the babe all warm and cozy in her jammies, quickly got out that syringe, snuck it up her nose, and sucked! I just knew I’d solved the problem – seriously, carrot bits can’t resist the suction power of the bulb syringe, right?!

No carrot bits.

If she’d only sneeze we’d be set! I pretended sneezing, I pretended blowing my nose, and I even put a bit of pepper in the palm of my hand and waved it under her nose, to which she made a funny face and tottered away.


By this time, the husband was beside himself having to listen to the babe endure all my carrot removal methods, the wee tot was exhausted, and I was out of ideas. So, I gave her a warm bottle, got her in the crib, and shut the door.

I figured I’d be checking on her every four minutes all night to make sure she was still breathing.


Right before I tucked myself in for the night, I checked on her and she was breathing just fine. Then, I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until 7am when her small little voice called out, “daaaada.”

While I was getting her changed, she sneezed out a big ol-wad of snot – and some chunks of carrot!


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