Vacuum Removal of Object Stuck in Child's Nose

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About: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is Sam and I'm a community manager here at Instructables.

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!

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104 Discussions

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Yomiko

8 years ago on Introduction

I find it interesting that so many people freak out over the idea of suction being used, but guess what the ER uses... suction!
My daughter (about 5 years old at the time) squished down a foam bead and shoved it up her nose. I tried making her blow, tweezers, pushing down on her nostril, nothing worked (I didn't know about the plug-and-blow method!). Children's ER tried the same things, had one person pushing it down, having her blow AND suction to finally get it out! The resident helping asked her why she shoved it up her nose. She looked at him and with a completely serious face, responded "because I tried to put it in my ear but it wouldn't fit!"

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seamsterYomiko

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

My wife and I both laughed out loud when we read your daughter's response. That's pretty funny stuff.

I'm certain that most people who complain about stuff like this don't have real children. (They most likely have chihuahuas in little sweaters that they carry around in giant purses.)

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Talonjseamster

Reply 3 years ago

Please help I know this is stupid but I snorted pills, now I have an ED and I had a stroke.
Please help I need real help without docters!

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lbrand1

1 year ago

Many thanks for the suggestion! Worked on our two year old with an airsoft bb in his nose. Worked with our home vacuum. It was so quick, we weren't even sure it had come out. We had to dump out the vacuum contents to check. :)

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seamsterlbrand1

Reply 1 year ago

Hey, that's great to hear!! I'm glad you found this and it worked for you. Thanks for the comment :)

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Kallie0704

2 years ago

Although this thread is older, the comments are so entertaining!! The flexable straw idea, awesome! I dont know about everyone, but the last thing I want to do is go to the ER, especially with a child. That just screams " let's turn this more traumatic" up a couple more notches. Glad to know there are innovative people still around

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AliciaH50

2 years ago

SO GLAD I JUST FOUND THIS THREAD!!! My son stuck a bead in his nose last night and his new insurance doesn't kick in until September. So, going to try this today!!!

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chilihook

2 years ago

Wish I'd read this a month ago when my son get a small Lego brick stuck up his nose! Favoriting this and moving it to the front of my queue till he's 15.

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Jemiba1985

2 years ago

This is the most effective way to get something out of your toddlers nose. My 2 year old stuck a pecan longer than my pinkie nail and it was very very deep inside and i could hardly see it. I was about to vacuum it out when the phone rang and my husband told me to close the nostril that has nothing inside and give a big blow with my mouth to my baby's mouth, kinda like CPR but one BIG blow. I did it and in less than a second, the pecan came out. I was surprised at the size of the pecan stuck in there. I really feel so bad that i thought it was probably tiny and it would probably come out on its own, thank God for that method

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I am not a doctor, so I can't say for sure. But I personally would NOT try this with anything stuck in an ear.

The way the passageways work with nose and mouth means there's air behind a very loosely stuck item . . . but with the ear it's a different issue. I'd be highly concerned about the suction rupturing the ear drum or causing other serious damage.

Just my thoughts . . . bur for an ear issue, I'd suggest just going to a doctor.

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jeff-o

8 years ago on Introduction

Oh, why didn't you publish this two months ago?  My daughter stuck a plastic bead up her nose, and it took a trip to E.R. to get it out.  In the end, the doctor sprayed a numbing agent into her nose, then scooped it out with what was basically a tiny spoon.  My daughter was thrashing like a wild animal the whole time; it took quite a bit of strength (physical and emotional) to hold her down.  I'm glad it was me in there and not my wife; she would have been a wreck!

Hopefully I shall never have to use this instructable.  But I will surely remember it in case I do!

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seamsterjeff-o

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

I agree--it's an awful, traumatic experience to have to hold your child down, even when it is or their own good!

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spooky1300seamster

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

 In the old days in Philippines, we don't use any vacuum, we just use our mouth to suck the thing out of the children nose, after all, they are your children, nothing to gross about.

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seamsterspooky1300

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

That's true--that is another way to do it. We actually tried it with our oldest child when he stuck an airsoft BB in his nose about a year ago. But it didn't work. We eventually had to go to the hospital.