What To Do When Your Toddler Shoves A LEGO Up Her Nose

The night my daughter shoved a LEGO up her nose, we were five minutes from bedtime. We had put on the pajamas, brushed the teeth and had just started picking out books. While I waited to hear what “Fancy Nancy” title we would be reading that evening, I heard the faintest little whisper from my nearly 3-year-old instead.

Kid: Mommy, there’s a LEGO in my nose.

Me: I’m sorry. What?

Kid: There’s a LEGO in my nose.

Me: Huh? (pause) Wait. What??? Are you serious?!?

Kid: Yes, I think so.

Me (internally talking myself off the ledge): Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic. What the holy what??!?  There aren’t even LEGOs in here?!? Breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe. OK, officially panicking.

Me (externally falling off the ledge): BRET!!!!!!!!!!!

As hubs comes running, I’m holding my girl and trying to look up her nose. But, her nose is so small! Is that the LEGO? Is that a booger? How did she get it up there? And, why?

Hubs, god bless him, kicks into his role as fixer and starts asking for tools like some kind of medical surgeon. Flashlight! Tweezers! No, smaller tweezers! Bigger flashlight! Is that the smallest tweezer you have!?  (Yes hon, they’re for my eyebrows, not extracting teeny bits from tiny noses.)

It is no use, with every move we are making her more upset.  She wants it out but she’s terrified to let us touch her nose. So we try asking her to blow her nose. But, she keeps sucking in big breaths with each scared sob. She is essentially creating a vacuum taking that little LEGO deeper and deeper into her impossibly small nasal cavity.

At this point we can barely see the LEGO, let alone grab it—so I do the thing I always do when my kids do something insane: I call my doctor friend.

As a pediatric cardiologist, things like LEGOs in the nose are way below his pay grade, but he humors me anyway.

And, this is when he tells me about the mother’s kiss.

Nope, not a cute, loving kiss to make your kid feel better. This kiss feels less like smooching, and more like eating your kid’s face. But, if done correctly, this effective technique can save you an unnecessary trip to the doctor or hospital. (Of course, your first order of business should be to consult with your child’s own doctor, and by all means, follow their advice over mine.)

Here’s how to perform the mother’s kiss technique:

  1. Put your hair in a ponytail. (See #7 for reason.)
  2. Grab a buddy or spouse to help hold your child. (Because kids don’t like this kiss so much.)
  3. Plug the unaffected nostril with your finger. (The one without the LEGO.)
  4. Cover your child’s mouth with your mouth. (Completely to create a seal.)
  5. Blow a powerful, short breath. (Think blowing out a stubborn candle.)
  6. Pray the object flies out the nose. (If not, repeat.)
  7. Wipe the snot off your face.

It sounds so simple, but this really does work. So says my doctor friend, my kids’ pediatrician and even science-backed studies. If done correctly the mother’s kiss works in nearly 60 percent of cases—and even better these studies show it has no real adverse effect if it doesn’t work.  So, bottom line it’s worth a try.

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I’m bummed to report that after several failed attempts I got a face full of snot (and blood), but no LEGO. Turns out my kid picked the perfect tiny human nostril-sized clear (yes, clear) LEGO and really wedged it in there.

So, we spent three hours in the E.R. waiting for extraction. In the end it took three of us—me sitting on top of my daughter to pin her to the table, a nurse to hold her head and a skilled doctor with a teeny tiny little hook to get that LEGO out.

Kate Desmond

When it was all said and done, my daughter was fine. Better than fine. The doctor gave her a popsicle and let her keep the LEGO in a specimen cup. She carries that LEGO around like a trophy and tells everyone “you shouldn’t put LEGOs in your nose, but if you do they give you a popsicle.”

Kate Desmond

True that kid. Should your child shove a LEGO or bean or rock up their nose, give the mother’s kiss a try and you might just save yourself a trip to the E.R. Or maybe not.