The results were recently published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, under the headline “Everything is awesome: Don’t forget the Lego.”
The team behind Don’t Forget the Bubbles, a blog founded by four doctors offering online education in pediatric medicine, realized there was a gap in their knowledge.
“We know that coins are the most commonly swallowed foreign object in the paediatric population and there is a lot of data surrounding transit time. The second-most commonly swallowed objects are small toys but there is very little data out there. We wanted to know how long it would take for a small piece of plastic toy, in this case a Lego head, to pass through,” the six researchers explain in a blog post.
So they began recruiting volunteers online, finding six healthcare professionals from pediatric hospitals willing to make a contribution to science and search through their stool for the roughly half-inch square toy head they offered to swallow.
The result: On average it took 1.71 days, a metric the team dubbed the Found and Retrieved Time score. But that was based on just five retrievals. After two weeks, one fellow said the Lego head never reappeared.
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