Danger! Gel Toys Mimic Food
A toddler of two years and ten months from Bnei Brak was brought to Schneider’s ER after his mother noticed that the “candies” he had swallowed were in fact toy gel balls that swell in water and could expand to ten times their original size. The child had swallowed about 15 “candies” until she tasted one herself and realized that they were not edible.
Dr. Omer Niv, a senior physician in the ER, contacted the National Poison Information Center to verify whether the gel substance was life-threatening. At the same time, there was a real threat that the gel balls would expand and cause a blockage in the bowel. The toddler was transferred to the Institute of Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Liver Diseases headed by Prof. Raanan Shamir, where he was sedated while he underwent a gastroscopy (fiberoptic examination of the stomach) performed by senior gastroenterologist, Dr. Ari Silbermintz, anesthetist Dr. Evelyn Trabkin and nurse Tamara Gulkarov.
The gastroscopy revealed that the gel balls had already moved from the stomach into the bowel. Doctors decided to keep the child under observation while waiting for his body to expel them naturally. He was hospitalized in Pediatrics ”C” headed by Dr. Irit Krause and head nurse Rachel Geva. The gel balls were indeed expelled a few days later, albeit swollen due to their contact with body fluid. The toddler felt well and was discharged.
Dr. Krause remarked that “happily this incident ended in the best possible way, but I emphasize that parents must pay attention all the time to small toy items especially if they look like food. These must be moved out of the reach of infants and small children because they can cause significant injury.”