“My 4-year-old son has a particularly active imagination. On any given day, he’ll regale us with fantastical tales about dragons and superheroes and rocket ships. But no matter how implausible his stories are, they always maintain some connection to reality.
So when my wife, who is a pediatric anesthesiologist, came home one day and my son announced that there was a rock in his nose, she believed him even though she couldn’t see it. And when he said that a space alien had put it in his left nostril, she still believed him even though he is clearly not friends with any martians. And when our nanny said that she thought the rock was just a “hard booger,” my wife still believed my son even though we have pulled some rock-hard boogers out of those nostrils.
Had I, an average parent (at best) with no formal medical training, been the one to arrive home first during this medical crisis, we would have headed straight to the emergency room, where a doctor probably would have sedated my son and used forceps to pull out the offending rock in an uncomfortable, time-consuming and expensive procedure.
But my wife, and her 13 years of medical training, walked through that door and knew exactly what to do. She remembered a technique from medical school for removing a foreign object from a child’s nose called “the mother’s kiss.”
In essence, you plug the unaffected nostril and blow into the child’s mouth, hoping to force the foreign object to pop out — as illustrated in this video.
“By blowing in the mouth, which is connected to the nasal passage through the back of the throat, the air should force the bead or stone to come out the nostril,” said Dr. Lawrence Rosen, M.D., a pediatrician and founder of the Whole Child Center, an integrative private pediatric practice in Oradell, N.J. “It’s a lot gentler and more pleasant than going to the E.R. and having an instrument stuck up their nose.”
Of course, said Dr. Michael Patrick, M.D., a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at Ohio State University, any at-home medical procedure — including this one — can come with certain risks. “All the child has to do is potentially take a deep breath in and the rock could be sucked down into the lungs,” he said. “This could happen if they’re crying.” “