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Doctor warns about the choking dangers of coins

The trouble started for 3-year-old Brooke Trumann after her mom, Elizabeth, found out her daughter had swallowed a nickel. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Studies show one child in the U.S. dies every five days from choking, and coins are often the culprit.

"The nickel and quarter fell out of the drier," Elizabeth Trumann said.

That's how the trouble started for 3-year-old Brooke Trumann after her mom, Elizabeth, recalled accounting for the quarter but not the nickel.

"One thing led to another, and she just swallowed it," Elizabeth said of her daughter.

"She came running to me, and I'm like, 'What's wrong?' and she said, 'Money, money!' and she's pointing to her throat, and then she just started getting sick," Elizabeth added.

The case isn't unusual for Dr. Michelle Kiser.

"There are probably a number of coins that pass through the GI tract that we never know about," Kiser explained. "But when they get lodged, it's usually in the esophagus."

"It was the worst day of my life," Elizabeth recalled. "I was very helpless with what to do for her."

Kiser knows exactly what to do and removes the coin during an endoscopy in the operating room at Mission Children's Hospital.

"About 70 percent of the foreign bodies we see in kids are coins. By in large, that's the biggest problem we see in kids," said the pediatric surgeon.

It's not only dangerous, but also expensive with the nickel ultimately costing thousands of dollars.

Doctors say it's important to keep pocket change out of the reach of children under the age of 5.

If your child swallows a coin and has trouble breathing, call 911. If the coin is just lodged and there are no respiratory issues, contact your pediatrician.

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