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Mother’s kiss: nasal foreign bodies

        1. Mother’s kiss: nasal foreign bodies


Mother’s kiss or parent’s kiss.


Children aged 2-5 years have the highest incidence of nasal foreign bodies with some studies suggesting a greater prevalence in boys.

Nasal foreign bodies (NFB), particularly in young children. NFBs may be inorganic items (beads, stones or crayons) or food items.

The mother’s kiss technique is effective approximately 60% of the time, irrespective of the type of foreign body.

Even when not successful, the mother’s kiss technique may improve the visibility of the foreign body making removal by another technique easier.


It is recommended that the parent have medical supervision to perform the technique.

  1. A number of theoretical risks have been proposed, such as barotrauma to the tympanic membranes and lower airways. However, there has never been a reported incidence of tympanic membrane rupture or pneumothorax using the mother’s kiss.
  2. The main danger in removing a NFB by any technique is aspiration, particularly in a child who is uncooperative
  3. If the NFB is suspected to be a disk battery, the child should be taken to the Emergency Department of the nearest hospital, due to the risk of tissue necrosis.

Adverse effects

No adverse effects have been reported.


Before starting the procedure, it is fully explained to the mother or trusted adult and the child is told they will be given a ‘big kiss’.

The mother, or other trusted adult:

  • places their mouth over the child’s open mouth, forming a firm seal as if about to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
  • occludes the unaffected nostril with a finger
  • blows until they feel resistance caused by the closure of the child’s glottis
  • gives a sharp exhalation to deliver a short puff of air into the child’s mouth (which passes through the nasopharynx, out through the unoccluded nostril)

If successful the foreign body is expelled. If necessary, the procedure can be repeated a number of times.


NHMRC Level 1 evidence


The emedicinehealth site provides a comprehensive view of nasal foreign bodies and a description of the mother’s kiss technique (note the technique is not named in the article) is given in the Foreign Body in the Nose Self-Care at Home section.

  1. Cook SC, Burton DM & Glasziou P. Efficacy and safety of the “mother’s kiss” technique: a systematic review of the case reports and case series. CMAJ 2012. DOI:10.1503/cmaj.111864
  2. Fischer J & Tarabar A. Foreign Bodies, Nose. emedicine
  3. Purohit N, Ray S, Wilson T & Chawla OP. The ‘Parent’s Kiss’: An Effective Way to Remove Paediatric Nasal Foreign Bodies. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2008 July; 90(5): 420–422. doi: 10.1308/003588408X300966
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