Small toys are the second most commonly swallowed item among children after coins, according to the researchers, but relatively little research has been done on the subject.
Six fearless Australian paediatricians swallowed yellow Lego heads in the name of science - and to help the countless parents who have asked: "My child swallowed a piece of Lego, how long will it take to exit?"
You can read the research published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health here.
"The Fart score - how many days it took the Lego to pass through the bowels - was between 1.1 days and three days, with an average of 1.7 days", wrote the Guardian.
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The SHAT results showed that the consistency of the researchers' stools were not affected by the object they swallowed. The primary outcome was the Found and Retrieved Time (FART) score. The participants first recorded their bowel habits before ingesting the object of the study (a LEGO head), which enabled them to establish a Stool Hardness and Transit (SHAT) score.
The study is aimed at finding the time that it takes for a piece to "transit" through a person's digestive system safely and be found on the other side.
"If an experienced clinician with a PhD is unable to adequately find objects in their own stool, it seems clear that we should not be expecting parents to do so - the authors feel that national guidance could include this advice". The researchers also note that "females may be more accomplished at searching through their stools than males", adding this "could not be statistically validated". Children just love to stick stuff in their mouths and while parents do their best to keep tiny toys away from eager eaters there's always a chance that something like a Lego finds its way into the stomach of a youngster.
And if a Lego head or similar object does go mysteriously AWOL, the pediatricians' advice to parents is not to go looking for it.
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