There’s something about toddlers and their little hands: they have a universally unique talent for grabbing small objects with those teeny tiny fingers and sticking them exactly where they don’t go: up their nose.
It doesn’t matter what state they live in, if they’re the oldest or youngest, if they were formula or breast milk fed, or if they have a stay-at-home parent or go to day care. For some reason, toddler nostrils are the go-to spot for newfound treasures whether it be a bead, coin, food, or Lego parts. Which often leaves parents horrified when they discover the item that’s now lodged in his or her nasal cavity.
But, in a now viral video, one mom is showing parents a clever hack to try when (let’s be real, it’s most likely going to happen at one point or another if you have young ones) something gets stuck in your kid’s nostril. Instead of initially going into panic mode over a potentially obstructed airway, Nikki Jurcutz, who is a paramedic and co-founder of Tiny Hearts Education — a company that offers baby CPR classes and first aid courses for parents — filmed a clip to help other moms and dads on Instagram.
“We used to refer to this as the mother’s kiss but I’ve decided to start referring to it as the Big Kiss as any trusted adult can do this one,” she wrote. “This one is used to dislodge something stuck up the nose of a little one!”
In the clip, which has gotten more than 7,800 likes as of Friday, she shows how to quickly and effortlessly dislodge a pea stuck in her little boy’s nose. According to this experienced mama, you just need to follow these four steps:
1. Block to unaffected nostril aka the one with nothing stuck up it!
2. Place your mouth over their mouth and form a seal
3. Blow until you feel a resistance which causes the closure of the glottis
4. Give a sharp and short puff of air into the mouth which travels through the nasopharynx and hopefully pushes the cheeky object out
And just like that, within seconds, she blows that pesky pee right on out. However, she does include another important reminder: “This works 60% of the time,” she added. “Although there have been no reported cases, the main danger is aspiration, particularly in a little one who is not cooperative. So if you can it’s suggested to do it under medical supervision.”
As the Big Kiss has made it’s way across feeds, parents have been both attesting that it works and also thanking Jurcutz for the easy tip for helping to clear tiny airways (and hopefully preventing emergency room visits). “My 2-year-old did this just the other day,” one parent commented. “Because I had seen this video I knew exactly what to do and we saved a trip to the hospital.”
“Took a 3 hour emergency trip to learn this with a piece of diced bacon shoved right up in there!” an experienced parent wrote.
“Oh sweetheart 🤍 thank you SO much for sharing such incredible necessary information!” another follower commented.
“I watched this then the next day had to use it to get a piece of styrofoam out of my little guys nose 🙄😅” a parent shared.
“So handy,” another commenter added. “Thank you. 🌟 I feel it’s only a matter of time till my son does this.”
“My little sister did this with a marble when we were kids, me and my mom just freaked out😂.,” wrote on Instagram user. “Such a good hack 🙌”
“My niece put a tic-tac up her nose, my mom and sis took her to the doctor because they didn’t know what to do,” one person wrote. “The Doctor got them to do this. Definitely a good technique to remember!”
Like Jurcutz said, though, this hack isn’t fail-proof and doesn’t work every single time. “I can say it doesn’t work with a fluffy Pom Pom! Now that was an ordeal,” another parent added in.
It’s common for foreign bodies to get stuck in the nose of children ages 2 to 5 — but it also happens with kids as old as 7 or 8, according to Cleveland Clinic. “Kids are more likely to put small things like beads or popcorn kernels in their noses, but I see a whole variety of things, too,” Purva Grover, MD, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist told the nonprofit academic medical center. And Grover sees it happening “more often with older children who don’t want to get in trouble or those with developmental delays who can’t tell a parent what happened.”
Grover explained that if a foreign object gets lodged in a child’s nostril, it’s important that parents act fast — and not just because of a potential airway obstruction. She recommended immediately trying to remove it yourself, which is where this hack comes in. And if that doesn’t work, getting them to a doctor as soon as possible. “If you wait, an infection can develop,” she explained. “In rare cases, especially if it’s left in the nose overnight, the object can get sucked into the airway and possibly cause choking.”
Grover also noted that of course parents don’t always see kiddos in the act, but it’s important to move fast if you think they potentially lodged something up there when nobody was looking. She recommends that parents of toddlers and small children be on the lookout for these signs: A bad smell or odor that comes out of just one side of his or her nose or a sinus infection-like symptoms including dark green mucus and fever.
There’s nothing attractive about blowing up a toddler’s sticky, snot- (and potentially toy-) filled nose, but it’s just another glamorous part of life with kids.