Talk about a stinky experiment.
In the name of science, six United Kingdom and Australia-based pediatricians agreed to swallow a Lego head to determine how long it would take for their bodies to pass them. The health care professionals revealed the results of their study last week in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.
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The experiment, they said, was to help parents get a better idea of how long it would likely take their child to pass a small foreign object — such as a coin or Lego piece — as kids are notorious for swallowing things they aren’t supposed to.
Researchers used unique metrics to determine the time it took for the Lego head to pass: The Stool Hardness and Transit score and the Found and Retrieved Time score .
In a separate post, researchers said they used a “variety of techniques” to retrieve the Lego head, ranging from tongue depressors, gloves and even chopsticks. In other words, “no turd was left unturned,” they wrote.
By the end, they determined it took roughly one to three days to pass the object, with an average time of 1.7 days. None of the doctors had complications after ingesting the Lego — though one doctor still hadn’t passed his Lego head after two weeks.
“It is possible that childhood bowel transit time is fundamentally different from adult, but there is little evidence to support this, and if anything, it is likely that objects would pass faster in a more immature gut,” the researchers wrote,” noting the results should “be of use to anxious parents who may worry that transit times may be prolonged and potentially painful for their children.”
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One of the authors of the report, Grace Leo, told The Guardian parents should remain vigilant and seek medical attention if their child swallows something that is sharp and longer than 5 centimeters, magnets or a button battery, among other potentially dangerous items.
That said, the researchers hope their experiment will “reassure parents,” adding they “advocate that no parent should be expected to search through their child’s feces to prove object retrieval.”