Young children may curiously take nearby small objects and place them up their nose. A new study says "Mother's kiss" could come to the rescue.
Mother's kiss is actually a technique that's been around since the 1960s but is not widely used, according to the researchers behind the new study. It involves a child's mother or trusted caregiver placing his or her mouth around the child's mouth to create a seal. Then the caregiver uses a finger to block the child's clear nostril that doesn't have an obstruction, and blows into the child's mouth. The pressure from the caregiver's breath then will provide a gust that may jostle and expel the wayward object loose. The technique can be repeated several times.
A new study in the the Oct. 15 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal reviewed eight studies on the technique in action, and found it to be effective in children ages 1 to 8 with no reported adverse side effects.
The researchers found the technique was successful in 91 out of 152 cases, or about 60 percent of the case series.
What's more, the "kiss" may prevent the need for more invasive methods such as using a hook or forceps to fish out the object. However the researchers note a parent should explain the technique to a child before performing it, so he or she is not frightened.
The researchers note their findings may be subject to publication bias, meaning the positive results were more likely to be reported than the negative results which showed no effect.
"It can work," Dr. Nina Shapiro, a pediatrician at the Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA who was not involved in the study, told WebMD of the technique. She noted the worst thing the study found could happen is the technique won't work, rather than harmful side effects like bleeding or pushing the object further up the nostril.
Dr. Henry Ou, associate professor in the department of otolaryngology at Seattle Children's Hospital, told ABC News he had concerns.
"My one fear is if parents try this at home or [do it] incorrectly, it could turn in to a true emergency if the foreign body is blown in to the airway... I would hate to see a stable situation turn in to an unstable one," he said.
Children become able to pick up objects at about the age of 9 months, so foreign objects in the nose are much less common in children 9 months of age or less, eMedicine reported. Symptoms of an inserted object may include pain or difficulty breathing through that side of the nose, bleeding that drips to the back of the throat (which may lead to vomiting), complaints of choking or difficulty breathing and infection.
The National Institutes of Health has more information on nasal obstructions in children.