Foreign Body Alert: Is your child at risk?

Free your Baby from Foreign Body!

Foreign body aspiration is a serious problem among children and can be a life-threatening emergency.  It is a leading cause of accidental deaths in children between 1 and 3 years of age.  The clinical presentation of foreign body aspiration can range from minimal, often asymptomatic, to respiratory failure and even death.  
 
The diagnosis is often missed in children, where the actual aspiration event is not immediately detected, and the patient is unable report the episode.  A high index of suspicion is required to make the diagnosis.  Sudden onset paroxysmal coughing in an unsupervised child suggests an inhaled foreign body.  A negative result or no changes detected in imaging does not rule out a FB in the airway, and often, bronchoscopy is required.  
 
If unrecognized, foreign body aspiration has the potential to cause serious complications.  Morbidity and mortality can be reduced by early recognition of the child in airway distress and the availability personnel who are capable of airway management.  The complication rate increases if extraction is delayed.  Rigid bronchoscopy remains the therapeutic tool for foreign body removal in children.  
 
Foreign body aspiration is largely preventable.  Community education, information dissemination, and legislation on products or items that pose as an aspiration hazard should receive nationwide support in order to ensure that the Filipino child shall be safe from foreign body accidents.
The Philippine Academy of Pediatric Otolaryngology, in cooperation with Philippine Society of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, has develop this advocacy to raise awareness for and prevention of foreign body injuries as this requires a broad dissemination of information. With potentially 10 million children at risk, it is essential that the message of prevention of FBI be directed to parents, care givers and adult supervisors of young children. Posters and flyers have been distributed nationwide to your PBO-HNS accredited medical centers. Print media, television, radio programs, and social media are also aimed for broader dissemination. For directory of hospitals that can manage foreign body aspiration and ingestion, just visit: fbalert.pso-hns.org.