WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A 6-year-old boy from Waterbury was in the hospital after his mother said he swallowed a thumbtack, trying to mimic a YouTube video he saw.
Vanessa Toribio said her son, Eli, is like any other 6-year-old. He plays with friends, he plays with toys, and he watches YouTube.
Just days before Christmas, Toribio said Eli was watching a children’s channel on YouTube Kids when a random and disturbing video popped up: A man slipping nails through his nose and spitting them out of his mouth.
“He had a lot of nails on the table, and he was just putting his head down and sniffing up the nail, and then [spitting] it back out,” Toribio said, describing the video.
But she didn’t see the video until after she heard Eli start choking.
Turns out Eli wanted to try the trick with a thumb tack.
“It started hurting when I started choking,” Eli told News 8.
Toribio and her husband rushed into the room to find Eli blue in the face. Jumping into action, Eli’s father hit him in the back, and the color started to return to his face.
The couple said things seemed to go back to normal…until three weeks later.
The pain quickly started to intensify so the couple rushed Eli to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, where they learned the thumb tack was sitting just outside of his lung.
“This [tack] was outside of his lung, and the location that it was at, if it was anywhere closer, it would have pierced his heart.”
Doctors also said Eli had an infection.
“Because it had been there for so long, and there was a lot of inflammation, there was an infection behind it, so he did have pneumonia,” said Dr. Chirs Grindle.
His mother said the tack pierced his lung and even started to build up rust.
Doctors were able to remove the tack with an operation and plan to send the boy home on Friday.
Grindle said he’s seen children try to put it all up their nose.
“We’ve seen the hair clips, springs from hair clips; we took out a game piece from a Monopoly game.”
He and Toribio want parents to know that they need to keep a close eye on their children, even if they’re watching child-safe content.
“Yes, you are supposed to be watching and making sure your kids are not watching things they’re not supposed to, but I would’ve never, ever see any harm like this coming from a kids channel.”