This is why a group of doctors chose to swallow Lego heads

Faith Castro
November 30, 2018

And one of the major culprits are the bazillion pieces of Lego scattered around the house - because let's be honest, we are either forever standing on the teeny bits, while yelping in pain and desperately trying not to swear - or our darling kids are devouring them whenever they feel the inexplicable need. Figure 1.71 days. That was the average time for six fearless volunteers who swallowed a Lego head, then dutifully kept an eye on their bowel movements, reports Forbes.

There's a lot of Very Important Science being done at the moment, and a new study from the Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health is no exception. The primary outcome was the Found and Retrieved Time (FART) score. It's all about the acronyms.

University of Melbourne researcher Dr Andrew Tagg and a handful of fearless paediatricians took a couple of LEGO heads for the team so they could answer the question "My child swallowed a piece of Lego, how long will it take to exit?"

The researchers made up a "scoring" system - Stool Hardness and Transit (SHAT) and Found and Retrieved Time (FART).

The Shat score assessed the consistency or changes in the stool while the Fart score recorded the number of days. "This will reassure parents, and the authors advocate that no parent should be expected to search through their child's feces to prove object retrieval", the authors wrote in the study.

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One clinician was unable to find the ingested Lego head despite searching for two weeks.

Toy parts are the second most common foreign object to be swallowed by children after coins and it is often a cause of concern for parents.

To return the heads back to the participants took one to three trips to the toilet, the maximum waiting period was 72 hours minimum 27 hours.

"Even within the academic paper itself - a format where colourful language goes to die - the authors went out of their way to have some fun", Gizmodo noted. "That should save parents some heartache, unless that Lego head is dearly loved".

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