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15th Oct 2021

I never realised this biro feature could save my child’s life

We’ve all got a biro in our home.

Most live in the junk drawer and of course, you can never find one when you need it.

When you’ve been jotting away you probably noticed that most pen lids have a hole in the top of them.

I know when I was in school most people assumed that the only function of this feature was to be a makeshift whistle but it actually has a very important purpose.

In fact, these holes could save your child’s life.

As any parent will tell you, kids put everything into their mouths.

A couple of years ago I wrote about my own terrifying experience of my daughter almost choking with an item she found on the floor.

The holes in pen lids are actually a safety feature to prevent death in the case of choking.

The hole helps the child to continue breathing if they put the lid in their mouth and swallow it, by allowing air to pass through the lid.

It works in a similar way as the tracheotomy surgical procedure, but less invasive.

In a tracheotomy, an incision is made on the anterior aspect of the neck and opens a direct airway through an incision in the trachea also known as the windpipe.

This feature prevents the child from needing such a procedure.

Until the child can be seen by a medical professional, they will still be able to inhale air into their lungs, preventing loss of consciousness and in a worst case scenario, death.

I studied medical technology in college and never even considered that the pen I was using the write my notes with was itself a medical device.

Even though this is a fantastic feature it is still always best to keep small detachable objects out of the reach of small children.