The following statistic will delight fans of obscure facts and overbearing bureaucracy: According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 850,000 accidental ingestions of everyday objects were recorded in the U.S. between 2010 and 2019. And while the paper trail is created for these swallowing accidents in the name of public safety, the most commonly swallowed object isn’t even a consumer product in the strict sense of the word.
Coins topped the list of accidental ingestions, with around 33,000 being recorded each year (more might go unreported). Other interesting (and likewise horrifying) entries in the commission’s database include batteries (almost 7,000 a year), nails, needles and the like (more than 6,000 per year) as well as crayons (which might actually result in a more delightful result when they exit the body again).
Most of the swallowing was done by young children, according to the database, which is based on hospital emergency room visits. The swallowing of jewelry and toothpicks, however, was more independent of age.
Among the 850,000 ingestions, the Consumer Product Safety Commission counted almost 100,000 cases receiving treatment, among them 64,000 hospital admissions.