6-year-old to be released from hospital after swallowing thumb tack seen in YouTube stunt

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A warning to parents about an online video that could prompt a child to do something dangerous. A family in Waterbury has shared what happened to them.

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.

Eli saw this, wanted to try it and swallowed a thumbtack. He began choking and his father, not knowing what just happened, began to hit him on the back. Things were then fine. Three weeks later, Eli started to have pain and got an infection.

A trip to the emergency room quickly revealed that Eli had that tack in his lungs, not far from piercing a hole in his heart.

“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,” Dr. Chris Grindle, Connecticut Children’s Hospital.

The doctor says the family did the right thing by bringing Eli in when they saw he was in pain and wasn’t getting better.

Eli is expected to be released from the hospital on Friday.

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