Introduction: Vacuum Removal of Object Stuck in Child's Nose

About: Hi, I'm Sam. I started tinkering with old sewing machines as a kid, and have been making and fixing stuff ever since. Here are some of the projects I've made over the years. Enjoy!

My kids seem to have this issue with sticking things in their noses. It's kind of scary at first, but it's not life-threatening. Here are some common methods used for removing an object stuck in the nose:

  • Plug the opposite nostril, close mouth, and have child blow out the nostril that has the foreign object in it
  • Induce a sneeze to more forcefully blow it out (with pepper or some other method that works)
  • Delicately grab the object with tweezers (but don't make things worse by shoving it in further)

Unfortunately, if your child jams something way up into his or her nose or just won't sit still enough, these methods might not work. You may need to go to a doctor, and possibly to an ear, nose and throat specialist. Smaller kids can be physically restrained well enough so the doctor can work, but often bigger kids cannot. At worst, if your child can't remain still enough he may need to be sedated so the doctor can get in there with his or her tools to get whatever it is, out.

Recently, our two year-old stuck a LEGO man's arm into his nose. We tried all the regular methods as best we could (with a squirmy, crying child), with no luck. I decided to try something new and perhaps save a lot of trauma, time, and money. I got out the shop vacuum, and with a quick nozzle modification, we sucked that Lego man's arm out of my kid's nose lickety-split!

Now, be sure to read ALL the steps before you condemn me as a terrible, irresponsible parent.... and if you ever try something like this... blah, blah, blah, use common sense, blah, blah, blah.

Step 1: Get the Vacuum

My shop vacuum was handy, so that's what I used.

Step 2: Modify the Nozzle at the End of the Hose

I taped the tube section of a Bic-style pen into the nozzle opening, making sure to tape it well enough to seal up the end of the nozzle so all the suction was focused at the tip of the pen.

Step 3: Remove Object With Suction (hopefully)

I was slightly concerned that the tiny nozzle might grab some skin, so I held the pen tip as shown in the photo.

I did not insert the pen into my child's nose!

With the vacuum turned on, I carefully held the tip of the pen right next to my son's nostril and the offending Lego arm popped right out!

Crisis averted, hospital avoided... Another successful day in parenting!