Playmobil Traffic Cone Discovered in Man's Lung — 40 Years After It Was 'Lost'

If your kids enjoy playing with toys that have small pieces, it might be safe to assume that they’re consuming some of them. Even if they are no longer toddlers.

A 47-year-old man from Preston, England, recently took a trip down memory lane following a surgery. He had a persistent cough for about a year when he was referred to a respiratory clinic. Since the man was a smoker, doctors feared that the mass showing up on his chest X-ray must be a cancerous tumor. They did surgery to remove it, only to find something incredibly odd: a tiny Playmobil traffic cone. The patient had received the toy as a gift for his seventh birthday.

BBC has more:

A report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) said the postman told doctors he “regularly played with and even swallowed” the toy pieces during his childhood.

But, on one occasion, he believes he inhaled a tiny plastic traffic cone.

He did not report any ill-effects for decades, doctors said, until the persistent cough which caused him to seek medical advice.

Because the man was so young when he inhaled the toy, the report said, his airway may have been able to remodel and adapt to the presence of a foreign body.

It was not unusual for children to ingest or inhale small toys, it said, but “a case in which the onset of symptoms occurs so long after initial aspiration is unheard of”.

Four months after the toy that had been lodged in the man’s lung for 40 years was removed, the patient’s cough had almost entirely disappeared. The moral of the story? Don’t underestimate your kids’ ability to put their toys in the strangest of places.