You may have wondered how long it would take a Lego head to pass through the human body. A team of healthcare professionals decided it was their mission to find out.
The results were recently published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, under the headline “Everything is awesome: Don't forget the Lego.”
The team behind Don't Forget the Bubbles, a blog founded by four doctors offering online education in pediatric medicine, realized there was a gap in their knowledge.
“We know that coins are the most commonly swallowed foreign object in the paediatric population and there is a lot of data surrounding transit time. The second-most commonly swallowed objects are small toys but there is very little data out there. We wanted to know how long it would take for a small piece of plastic toy, in this case a Lego head, to pass through,” the six researchers explain in a blog post.
So they began recruiting volunteers online, finding six healthcare professionals from pediatric hospitals willing to make a contribution to science and search through their stool for the roughly half-inch square toy head they offered to swallow.
The result: On average it took 1.71 days, a metric the team dubbed the Found and Retrieved Time score. But that was based on just five retrievals. After two weeks, one fellow said the Lego head never reappeared.