What happens if you swallow a metal soda can tab?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “what happens if you swallow a metal soda can tab?”  and the way to treat the concern.

What happens if you swallow a metal soda can tab?

Swallowing foreign objects, whether they be a penny or a can tab, may cause havoc on the gastrointestinal system, resulting in bleeding or other problems. Occasionally, surgical intervention is required.

Approximately three decades ago, when research showed that children were consuming pull-tabs in large quantities, manufacturers began retrofitting beverage cans with stay-tabs. Two cases of accidental ingestion and one case of aspiration occurred as a consequence of children ingesting pull-tabs that were placed in cans in one research study.

When Should You Consider Seeking Help?

If you swallow a can tab and have trouble breathing, the tab may get stuck in your lung. A radiograph will be taken, and your doctor will choose the most efficient way of removing the foreign object. Additionally, if you have stomach pain after ingesting the can tab, get medical care immediately since the tab may have gotten stuck in your digestive tract.

In what situation might an object be swallowed?

The Harvard School of Public Health, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a public health institution.

Among the things that young children, as well as older children and adults, may eat are toys, coins, safety pins, buttons, bones, wood, glass, magnets, battery packs, and other little items. Many of these compounds pass entirely through the digestive system within 24 to 48 hours without causing any harm to the individual.

But if the objects are held captive for a long time, whether they are sharp or magnetic, or if they are contaminated with caustic chemicals, problems may arise. Esophageal rips (tears in the tube that connects the mouth and the stomach), migration of the object into the esophageal tissue, and infection are all possible complications of this procedure. Small magnets may prove to be a fascinating and challenging task. When consumed in large enough amounts, they have the potential to bond to one another and erode through tissue.


After evaluating your child and learning about his or her recent medical history, the doctor may decide to order an X-ray to assist in the search for the missing item. Certain items are invisible to an X-ray because they are made of a different material. If the X-ray does not show the object, but the child’s symptoms and circumstances suggest that it is there, a computed tomography (CT) scan or another kind of radiologic testing may be required to confirm the presence of the item.


Make sure there is a safe distance between small things like coins, pins, magnets, small toy components, batteries, and other small objects and children, especially those under the age of 3.


If your child eats an unusual meal, get medical attention as soon as possible and follow these steps:

  • Don’t make any attempts to get the child to throw up.
  • Take no action if you are frightened.
  • Make no assumptions regarding whether or not surgery is required. The digestive system is capable of absorbing the vast majority of the chemicals it comes into contact with. Surgery to remove foreign objects from the body is a relatively rare operation.
  • Use extreme care while removing the object from the room. This has the potential to cause further damage.
  • Occasionally, a surgical or endoscopic procedure is required to remove the object. This operation is carried out while the patient is under anesthesia.

In What Situations Should You Seek Professional Assistance?

If your child consumes a battery, a magnet, or anything larger than a quarter, contact your doctor or take them to the closest emergency hospital immediately, even if they show no signs of illness. The same goes for any sharp object your child may have consumed, such as a broken safety pin or a piece of shattered glass. Sharp objects may cause injury to the esophagus, stomach, or intestines on rare occasions.

If your child has swallowed a smooth object the size of a quarter and is not showing any signs of illness, contact your doctor to decide the best course of action to take. Waiting and seeing how the item naturally goes through your digestive system may be an option. Contact your doctor if, after 24 to 48 hours, you have not found the item in the toilet or your child’s diaper, or if your child is exhibiting symptoms associated with a lodged object in his or her body.


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “what happens if you swallow a metal soda can tab?”  and the way to treat the concern.



Hello, I am Medhavi Singh. I am a PhD Scholar in the field of Food Science and Nutrition. I'm a skilled professional in Nutrition and Food technology. I love baking and writing food blogs, and in future, I want to become a Food Scientist.